In 2013 Ethan Gouge traded his career as a U. S. Marine officer for a chance to put a newly formed passion into practice: restoring his grandparents’ overgrown farm property in Roan Mountain. Ethan married Katie in October of 2014 and together they are bringing Roan Highlands Farm back to life with a focus on berries and apples, working towards a 5-acre certified organic apple orchard.
In early 2016 they contacted the ARC&D about a grant opportunity through Rural Development to conduct a feasibility study to expand their business goals.
From Ethan: “As a small farm/business owner dedicating the time it takes to learn what grant reviewers expect as well as write and format a grant application would not have been possible on our own without Emily. Emily’s grant writing expertise and professional execution were invaluable in creating an impressive product for USDA Rural Development. Emily’s contacts connected us with a feasibility consultant at a fraction of the cost. Emily allowed our business to reach a level previously unattainable. And we were awarded the grant!”
And from Emily: “My goal was to show the Gouges that this grant was 100% attainable. It was a pleasure to research the background for what the Gouges would like to make happen on their farm and talk with RD about specific questions that I could then take the Gouges for more information. I became convinced that their plan was an ideal fit for Rural Development. The time I spent co-writing the grant with Ethan, helping him assemble the right forms, and make sure all the Ts were crossed and I’s were dotted, flew by. They are a sweet, hard-working family.”