Telegraph Herald, July 2020
“It really feels great to come back and reconnect with the community and people I did not know prior,” Pesek said. “It feels good to be making a connection and making an impact in my hometown.”
“We have focused deeply on the people around us,” Anna explains. More than 50% of the farm’s sales are to the local, rural small towns around them. “The range of customers we have in our CSA is amazing. They are rural, they are in-town, they are people who have bought shares as gifts for grandmothers, they are local businesses—insurance agencies, hair salons, auto repair shops, yoga studios, you name it.” Anna declares, “People who live in rural areas and smaller towns also deserve this luxury and beauty.”
"However, for other queer farmers, the pursuit of farming was about chasing a dream that didn’t necessarily have to do with queerness, but was influenced by it all the same. Shae Pesek and Anna Hankins own and operate Over the Moon farm in northeast Iowa, which produces everything from eggs to meat to a flower CSA, and which is attached to Pesek’s family’s more conventional farm. She had always had a love for agriculture, participating in 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America), but went to college in San Diego because, she figured, that’s what you did if you were gay. “I came out [in San Diego] and I really didn’t realize that there was necessarily a place for queer adults in agriculture,” she said. “It was just not something that I had seen. Most people that were queer that I knew moved to cities and I thought that that would be the path for me as well.
But she missed her parents’ farm, so she moved back, which is where she met Hankins. Hankins studied agriculture in college and worked in food and agriculture activism networks, and she too did not see a future in city life. “I wanted to be somewhere rural and where I wanted to actually pursue growing for people and for the community,” she said. Over the Moon came out of that shared desire to lead a rural life and to bring a more holistic approach to farming, which in many ways, is a queer desire — the drive to pursue what fulfills you, even if it’s not considered the norm."
Awards and Recognition
2021 Second Place Winner of the Iowa Farm Bureau's Grow Your Future Award, recognizing innovative ag. businesses throughout the state
2022 Brighter Future Fund Award Winners through the American Farmland Trust
2022 Competition of Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentives Program