My name is Ignacio Villa, and people call me Nacho. Let me tell you who I am.
I came back to Vermont in July of 2010 after being away for about 30 years. I came back to the Von Trapp Farm in Waitsfield Vermont. I had been watching their evolution, and became very excited about the new generation’s effort to revitalize the farm with a cheese making operation.
I have always wanted to combine cheese making with the raising of pigs, as we did in Colombia in the early 80s, on a small demonstration farm that I helped my family operate. There, pigs drank whey from a very small cheese operation. Their manure went into a digester that generated biogas to fuel the burner that warmed the curds. Then it fertilized the grass that fed the cows and goats. This became a model for on-farm integration in the small holdings of local campesinos. I also raised pigs in various situations throughout my career, and most recently in Ohio.
So I came to Vermont thinking that I would help the von Trapp farm make use of their whey. I have also realized that such an enterprise has many challenges, and that these are best met if people work together. This is why I have decided to dedicate myself to promoting collaboration among cheese makers who see the potential of this approach.
I am often asked: What is in it for you? The truth is that I do not see that very clearly yet. However, if I do things right, there will be a time when I can see a return for my efforts. As far as I can tell, someone has to do this job.
Right now I am spending a considerable amount of time building support for this idea. I am hoping to receive help in developing a business plan through the Farm Viability Enhancement Program of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. A solid business plan will help potential collaborators understand what is being proposed, and how they might benefit from participating in the proposed collaboration. I am also talking to as many stakeholders as I can. I built this site to help me get the work out.
In the meantime, I am milking cows and working at a restaurant to help pay the bills. I see great potential in this enterprise, and hence my commitment. I hope you share my enthusiasm.