Ivor Chodkowski’s tenant operation, Field Day Family Farm, will be turning twenty years old in 2016. Ivor now produces vegetables, chickens, and sometimes turkeys, sometimes hogs on 10 acres of land, has a CSA of 65 families, does farmers markets, and regularly employs more than half a dozen people on the farm.
For the last ten years, some of Ivor’s help have been farm apprentices seeking both hands on and more theoretical experiences (including regular workshops and field trips to other area farms) in agriculture. Graduates from the formal apprenticeship alone are more than twenty with several graduates having gone on to start their own farming operations, one having gone on to be an agricultural extension specialist in the peace corps in Bolivia, and many others now placed in additional jobs related to agriculture in the community.
Currently, Field Day Family Farm is host to the Food Literacy Project (a 501c3) where executive director, Carol Gunderson, a Field Day graduate, has been hard at work making the farm an educational opportunity for area children and youth. Ivor was a FLP founding board member in 2006. Many of Ivor’s customers have children whose first meaningful farm experience was at Ivor’s farm right here in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Over the years Ivor has been involved in many community efforts. In 2002, Ivor received a key to the City for his work in helping to start farmer’s markets in Louisville’s food deserts. In 2003, he visited the World Social Forum and the Rural World Assembly in Porto Allegre, Brazil, as a delegate from the United States. He served, in 2005, as the President of Community Farm Alliance, a true grassroots organization committed to helping farmers and other area citizens help themselves in areas of policy and economic development in Kentucky and southern Indiana. In 2006, Ivor was instrumental in helping to pass House Bill 120, testifying in both houses in the legislature in Frankfort. The bill allowed for the extension of permitting for prepared foods at farmers’ markets.
In 2007, with funding from the USDA and later from Kentucky’s Agricultural Development Board, Ivor helped open Grasshoppers Distribution, Kentucky’s first and only all local food distribution company serving area farmers and the area community with a multi-farm CSA, and serving, as well, area stores, restaurants, and institutions. Grasshoppers is now widely viewed, in both rural and urban communities, as a critical piece of local food and farm infrastructure.
In the spring of 2011, along with three partners and many small investors from the local community, Ivor opened a local foods restaurant in NuLu on East Market Street in Louisville. The award winning restaurant is called Harvest.