There is only so much school can teach you about the trials and triumph in taking on a start up. Allison Jenks graduated last year from Sonoma State University with a degree in Environmental Science and is now a cofounder of the local startup, Farmster.
“Running a startup feels a little bit like spending a month at Disneyland, you are having an a ton of fun but you are also extremely exhausted,” Jenks said.
Jenks, Dustin DeMatteo and Tomio Endo graduated from Sonoma State with degrees in environmental studies and planning and anthropology. The three worked to establish sustainable practices at SSU such as Students for Sustainability, and the Sonoma State Growers Cooperative – both clubs on campus. Jenks served as senator for sustainability on Associated Students for two years and DeMatteo was the sustainability ambassador for Culinary Services.
The goal of Farmster is to create a way for people to become more aware of their produce. Mainly, where it comes from and how it’s grown. With a focus on staying local and developing a sustainable business model, Farmster plans to stay in Sonoma County and hopes to work among crop producing individuals in the area.
The process of starting a company can mimic that of a farm. Cultivating ideas and advice, developing a business model, following through with a plan, tending to what changes need to be made and following through to produce a successful crop.
In a drought that’s four years running, the Farmster crew plans to practice sustainable means in tending to their crops. Food is a fundamental part of life and the team believes that there is a concerning disconnect between the food people buy and where the food actually comes from.
“There are five main stages of the food system; production, processing, distribution, retail and waste. We seem to think of food mainly when it is in the retail stage,” said Jenks. “My personal vision for Farmster is to make a place where the Rohnert Park, Sonoma State and Sonoma Mountain Village community can all engage with food at the forgotten stages.”
The team hopes to start with five acres and grow from there, working on producing and providing sustainable crops while educating and encouraging individuals to go local.
According to their website, the Farmsters have a desire to create measurable change in regional food systems. The trio continue to describe their own ‘urgent sense to take action’ in this changing world. With a mantra of thinking holistically and going local, they plan to do just that.
“Right now we are focusing on getting up and running smoothly but keep an eye on our facebook group. We plan on hosting workshops and other events along with internships,” Jenks said. Farmster has recently tabled at Big Nite and have been working closely with both JUMP and the Sonoma State Growers Cooperative. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.