Vendor Highlight: Rainfield Farm

Aug 31st, 2017

For nearly 10 years, you could find Shane Hansen, sleep-deprived and groggy, but volunteering faithfully at his local farmers market in Chicago.  You can’t blame him for being a bit sluggish on Saturday mornings.  Shane was a professional nightlife promoter by trade.  But he had an appetite for fresh food—and little did he know, that appetite would soon lead to a whole new path in life.  Trading in the skyline for a hilly horizon, Shane’s biggest crowd now is the flock of hens waiting to see him every morning.

“Most of my friends were sleeping on Saturdays,” Shane said with a chuckle.  “I’d known them for years, but couldn’t tell you much about them.  Then I show up at this farmers market and everyone seemed like family.”  Shane’s foray into local food began simply enough: he loved fresh food, and the freshest he could find was at the farmers market.  If that meant he had to shop early on a Saturday, that was a price he was willing to pay. 

 Soon, shopping led to volunteering.  Then, volunteering led to working at a community garden.  It was there that Shane finally realized he liked the early mornings in the field more than late nights in a club.

“I’ve got 13 acres and a car for the same price as I was paying for an apartment and no car,” Shane boasted.  “I’d say that’s an upgrade.”

Today, you can find Shane on his 13-acre organic farm most days, when he’s not delivering fresh produce to chefs or to Market Wagon’s delivery hub.  On his small farm, Shane has figured out how to produce over 70 varieties of produce through intensive rotations and soil conditioning.  His commitment to avoid chemicals of any kind means he has to be incredibly resourceful—using cover crops, green manure, and even the natural predator of bugs (chickens) to keep his produce healthy and pest free.

What Shane had in his first decade post-college was a job—and a fun one at that.  What he has now is a life, and for decades to come he’s building a legacy for him and his family.  Shane takes immense pride in feeding his community.  Support Rainfield Farm on today.