Meet the wonderful farmers supporting us!
We have the good fortune of visiting these folks along the road and we look forward to spreading their wisdom! Please take part in the discussion by sending us your questions, concerns, and perspectives.
The Soil Sisters
Maisie Ganz and Willow Hein are dedicated to empowering women in the field of farming. Noticing a lack of support for women farmer's the began Soil Sisters, a women’s farming and art collective that is part of the Living Lands Agrarian Network and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). In the midst of supporting and educating new farmers they also seek spread a new model of farming that values a balanced lifestyle.
Nevada City, CA.
Claire & Rusty Orner
Claire Orner is the vice president and steward of Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living. She is a certified educator, specializing in biology earth science, environmental science, physics, and chemistry and has teaching experience in both states. At Quiet Creek, Claire conducts seminars on the topics of renewable and non-renewable energy, generation of electricity, electrical safety, and more to kindergarten through adult students. Claire and her husband Rusty combine their technical backgrounds with their love of teaching by offering an array of environmental educational and sustainable living programs.
Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living, Brookville PA
Jackie Cleary describes Auburn Meadow Farm as “a modern heritage foodstead: reclaiming our food future, farmwife style.” Jackie began her heritage breed, special pastured Devon beef farm when she decided to take responsibility for her own food and “gave highly processed foods the boot.” Now she encourages others to reconnect with their food by offering Devon beef, presentations, workshops, and food swaps.
Auburn Meadow Farm, Middlesex PA
Charlotte P. Wolfe
One of Shifting Gears’ most enthusiastic and generous supporters, Charlotte Wolfe raises heritage breed Cotswold sheep and Devon cows, and has also been restoring 60 nearby acres of native prairie and wetland since 1994. Prairie Winds Farm is also open for educational visits of all sorts.
Prairie Winds Farm, Lakeville IN
Grass is Greener is dedicated to raising meat and eggs without the use of artificial growth promoters or persistent medications or antibiotics. Many of their cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys have a Conservation Priority (endangered) Status!
Grass is Greener Meats & Produce, Bremen IN
The 80 acre ZJ Farms provides over 200 families with fresh, delicious produce through the Local Harvest CSA. From the beginning, Susan Jutz and Simone Delaty, Local Harvest’s founding mothers have been committed to living the vision of community supported agriculture. Susan, the principle vegetable grower for Local Harvest, has a three-fold goal: to support new and existing local farms and farm families, to preserve and build the soil for the future, and to provide wholesome food directly to the consumer.
ZJ Farms, Solon IA
Danelle Meyer grew up on a conventional soybean, corn, and cattle farm in Iowa. She stays close to her roots as a one-farmer farm growing chemical-free vegetables and herbs for her farmers market community. Danelle’s advice: start today!
One Farm, Logan IA
Crystal & William Powers
Crystal & William Powers, President of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Ceresco NA
William Powers is the executive director for the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. Along with his wife Crystal & son Aiden John Alden, they have a small diversified farm in the saline wetlands of Saunders County near Ceresco, Nebraska that features Guernsey dairy cows and heritage breed poultry. Darby Springs Farm is grass-based and focused on sustainable agriculture and holistic management principles. William currently serves as President of Slow Food Nebraska and on the board of directors for the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center.
Darby Springs Farm, Saunders County NE
This farm has been in the Welsch family since 1892! Deb and her husband Dave have operated the organic, pasture-raised chicken, beef, and lamb West Blue Farm since 1990. All are welcome for farm tours and direct orders of their phenomenal meat!
West Blue Farm, Milford NE
Krista, and her husband Doug and sons Nelson and Andreas, tends to this 230 acre dairy farm committed to preserving the land and creating organic products free of chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones. Krista also began a local artisan cheese corporation called Farmstead First.
Branched Oak Farm, Raymond NE
26th Street Farm is a brand-new 1.5 acre diversified farm of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Hannah is excited to start her second year of hand-tending the plants and sharing them through the CSA and farmers markets in the Hastings area.
26th Street Farm, Hastings NE
Since 2000, Beth keeps busy growing and processing diverse seed crops, operating a seasonal organic vegetable nursery business, growing and milling organic wheat, and producing and marketing pepper jam, paprika, and other value-added products for sale online. She is also active generously educating others through farm tours, community events, and extensive involvement in Nampa’s farming community.
Canyon Bounty Farm, Nampa ID
Janie Burns raises her chickens, cows, and lambs on open grass with no hormones or antibiotics. Being animal welfare approved, as Meadowlark Farm is, means she raises her animals with the highest quality of living! Janie agrees we should all eat less meat, but if we do, “eat grass-fed, humanely-raised meat raised by a local farmer.”
Meadowlark Farm, Nampa ID
Carol Rast has been growing food since she was a little girl. Since the late 80's, she and her husband Jeff Rast have operated Prairie Sun Farm in a small town called Fairfield in Southern Idaho. Carol's carrots are the undisputed best around, as are all of her organic baby vegetables. "I like being small," says Carol, referring to her marketing niche as well as speaking to her gracious humility and quiet strength. Find her at the Ketchum FM!
Prairie Sun Farm, Fairfield ID
Ali Clark & Friends
Big Muddy Urban Farm is a collectively run urban farm providing naturally-grown herbs and vegetables. Formed in 2011, these four farming friends follow the guiding principles of: naturally grown, food security, community, collectivity, skill sharing, and creativity. Big Muddy Urban Farm comprises several locations in North Omaha.
Big Muddly Urban Farm, Omaha NE
Abby Shinn is the Co-manager at Heaven and Earth Farm in Nevada County. Heaven and Earth farm specializing in organic plant propagation, Heirloom plant exploration, and vegetarian and vegan food preparation. This family-run farm has been in bloom for the past thirteen years although the owner Amigo Bob Cantisano has been farming for over thirty seven years. Amigo Cantisano has been a huge source of support for Shifting Gears and has introduced us to many of the women working in agriculture we have the good fortune to meet.
Heaven and Earth Farm, Nevada City, CA
Judith Redmond is a co-owner of Full Belly farm in the Capay Valley of Northern California. Full Belly Farm has been implementing Organic farming methods since 1985 and produces a diverse array of vegetables, herbs, nuts, flowers and fruits year round. The farm works to restore natural habitats to support indigenous insect life while enriching the farmed soil with nitrogen fixating plants and compost. Their mission includes producing delicious produce as much as it does long-term environmental stewardship.
Full Belly Farm, Capay Valley, CA
Rowen White is a passionate seed saver, an activity both practical and sacred for Rowen. Of the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, Rowen curates an extensive collection of rare northeast native seeds. She is the co-founder of the Sierra Seed Cooperative, a local community seed organization focusing on local seed production and education, located in California. Sierra Seeds is building a rare and diverse seed collection, educating members about the practice of seed-saving, and growing a community of caring farmers and seed stewards. Her most recent publication is "Breeding Organic Vegetables", available through Sierra Seed Cooperative.
Sierra Seed Cooperative, Nevada County, CA
The best question to ask is, what hasn't Malaika Bishop done to make positive change in our food system? First awakening to the effects of the global economy on foodways and local economies on the International Honors Program: Global Ecology in college, Malaika went on to become an organizer and educator for environmental health, food justice, and community resilience. In 2001 she co-founded the People's Grocery, an organization working to find creative solutions to the food needs of West Oakland by building a local food system and a local economy. Since then she has been a garden manager and educator at the Woolman non-profit educational community located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has served on boards of People's Grocery and the BriarPatch Cooperative, and has held positions in various state-wide initiatives to support equitable regional food systems. Malaika is a recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, she was chosen by Utne Reader, San Francisco Magazine and Organic Style Magazine as a young visionary and environmental leader. Malaika's life goal is to create positive change through love and service.
Nevada City, CA
The warm and charismatic Karen Washington has worked as an urban agriculture and social justice activist since 1985, helping Bronx neighborhoods turn empty lots into gardens, and helping to launch a City Farms Market as a member of La Familia Verde Garden Coalition. As if being on the boards of Just Food and WhyHunger, Karen also created Black Urban Growers, which builds networks for growers in urban and rural settings. We are thrilled to visit Karen at the Garden of Happiness!
Garden of Happiness, Bronx NY
After serving as an Operations Specialist in the US Navy, Kelly Carlisle returned home to East Oakland and founded Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project in 2010. ANV Farm is committed to holistic community revival; meaning literally, rejuvenating, reengaging and reinvesting in all of East Oakland from the ground up! Serving at-risk youth, ANV farm sees urban farming as a catalyst for social change, providing therapeutic gardening programs, fresh, healthy food, and educational programs. Kelly Carlisle is a member of the Veteran Farmers Coalition.
Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, Oakland, CA
Suzanne and her husband Barney Bahrenfuse raise cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, and chickens on pasture and free from antibiotics. Through Eden Farms Inc., Suzanne uses direct marketing to sell their impeccable products in the Grinnell, Iowa area. Although Suzanne's five-year-old son told us their house is not big enough for a million people, we are grateful they are willing to accomodate two young women and their bikes!
B&B Farms, Grinnell, Iowa
Through her undergraduate studies of biology, ecology, environmental studies, and her masters study of Local Food Systems at University of Michigan, Margaret became fascinated by the transformative reconnection with food and the ethical implications therein. At a ccertain point she realized that abstract study in school was good, but she wanted to get her hands dirty in the field. She now works as a Strategy Facilitator for Growhio, a firm that provides resources for small-scale Ohio farmers. She has been the farm manager in the Refugee Response area of Ohio City farm since 2011.
Ohio City Farm, Cleveland OH
Yvette is La Finca del Sur's Farm Manager. Before joining La Finca, she and her husband operated a spirulina farm in France. Now, she is dedicated to becoming the most technically skilled farmer she can be on La Finca's two acres in the Bronx. In her words, "dirt is happiness."
La Finca del Sur, Bronx NY
Villa Maria Farm
Growing Power's Iron Street Farm
The 7 acre Iron Street location of Growing Power Chicago is dedicated to economic empowerment of Chicago youth through job training and employment at every link in the food chain. From giving tours, to creating compost, to growing, to making value-added products like honey, worm compost, and essential oils, Chicago young people are involved. This farm was established in 2010 as a Chicago location of Growing Power, a youth empowerment organization in Milwaukee focused on racial, social, and economic justice through interrogating and recreating urban foodways.
Growing Power's Iron Street Farm, Chicago IL
Suzanne received her Masters in Public Health from Columbia University, during which time she bagan to realize the connectivity between public health, built environment, food systems, and racism. For Suzanne, her work with anti-hunger organization Why Hunger and as a farmer at La Finca del Sur brings together the intersections of her family, her history, and systemic power.
La Finca del Sur & Why Hunger
When the Sisters of the Humility of Mary immigrated from France to Villa Maria, PA in 1864, the first thing they did was set to work creating a subsistence farm. The culture of growing food, keeping some to sustain the Sisters and charitably donating some to the surrounding community, continues to this day. Novice nuns are required to work on the land, although the operation has grown to over 200 acres, multiple volunteers, and a full-time farm staff. They grow vegetables, flowers, herbs and grains, raise cattle, sheep, and goats, and have productive forest land. We are thrilled to explore the meeting places of spirituality and productivity at Villa Maria Farm!
Villa Maria Farm, Villa Maria PA
Elle grew up in a New York City family for whom being useful, productive, and active in the community were central. They even raised chickens in their backyard! This ethos continued for Elle when she managed Cleveland's Summer Sprout community gardening program. She expanded her vision of food justice, community organizing, and youth education when she founded City Rising Farm in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland. The former empty lot has vegetables, compost, a pizza oven, and picnic tables for neighbors to come enjoy. City Rising Farm focuses on youth and teen education, but with no fences, the invitation is open to all!
City Rising Farm, Cleveland OH
The Ridenour family is committed to health and sustainable agriculture. Staying true to their name, their grass fed beef spends its full life on pasture and is free of all pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Heirloom varieties of vegetables fill their hoop houses and fill CSA boxes year round.
Meadow Maid Foods, Yoder WY
For Sarah and Josh Smith, farming is an extension of their life philosophy and spirituality. Living intentionally and compassionately on the land of Rawlins Wyoming allows them to tune in to seasonal rhythms of animals, plants and soil. Finding the world of conventional farming to be rooted in profit and a narrow consumption-fueled mindset, they have made a commitment to simplify their lives as it relates to food. Their mission includes not only cultivating the land but also conserving and replenishing it.
Meadow Ranch, Rawlins WY
Catherine Wissner manages the Laramie County Master Gardener Program and has a background in Horticulture and Business Management. While raising grass fed all natural lambs she also grows for farmers markets and allows neighbors to invest in shares of her garden for home deliveries. Working in two high tunnels and with a flock of 70 sheep, Catherine Wissner has been growing in Wyoming for over ten years.
Wild Winds Sheep Company, Carpenter WY
Since 1999, Jackie and Scott Taylor have grown heritage varieties of vegetables, fowl, berries and herbs in Cheyenne Wyoming. They operate a vegetable garden, high tunnels, and have a set of ewe lambs. Along with fresh produce these two are avid canners and fermenters! .
Happy Jack Harvest, Cheyenne WY
Since 1985, the Willow-Witt family has operated 440 acres of farmland in Oregon’s mountainous southwest. The family specializes in meat and dairy products from pigs, goats and chickens. Suzanne tends to the animals but also the land through responsible management techniques and low impact production methods in combination with wetland and forest restoration. Suzanne Willow and Lanita Witt have been stewards and producers for the past twenty years on this old mountain lake bed.
Willow-Witt Ranch, Ashland OR
Nested in Southern Oregon’s Siskiyou Mountains, Wolf Gulch Farm is operated by Maud and Tom Powell. A diverse mix of vegetables and orchard trees live on the five acres the Powell’s farm. The land is managed with permaculture principles that respect the flow of resources that are naturally available and abundant on the land. As the founders of the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative, the Powell’s have managed marketing and production planning for ten farms since 2003. In their cooperative work, they have discovered the benefits and challenges of working in collaboration and have helped to mold a community culture that is responsive to structural interdependence. As seed farmers who are constantly working on varietal improvements and overall seed quality, they have aided their entire region in elevating seed standards.
Wolf Gulch Farm, Williams OR
In the town of Medford is where Aluna Michelle and her farming partner Matt cultivate the organic vegetables of Happy Dirt Veggie Patch. Aluna considers farming the pinnacle of her life's journey thus far. From the Ivy League to an epic bike adventure of her own to farming in Florida, Aluna now calls this patch of earth home. Find Happy Dirt Veggies at the Medford and Ashland farmers markets, and at local restaurants!
Happy Dirt Veggie Patch, Medford, OR
Earthly Delights Farm is one of the most unique farms we will be visiting! It is human-powered, meaning minimal use of fossil fuels, mostly hand tools, and bicycle transportation for bringing produce to market. The core of Earthly Delights' philosophy is using the human body productively toward responsible land use. In addition to growing for an 18-week CSA, the farm also offers classes and workshops and lectures. Perhaps we'll help them bring some vegetables to market? Our panniers are certainly big enough....
Earthly Delights Farm, Boise ID
Being the Pasture Division Director of Belcampo Farm means that Aimee is in charge of 22,000 acres and the wellbeing of the cows, goats, and sheep who feed from it. After a life of globe-trotting adventure and environmental education, Aimee discovered her love for cattle ranching high in the mountains of Colorado. She fearlessly and intelligently navigates the male-dominated world of cattle ranching with dedication and a simple love for moving her animals onto fresh pasture. Belcampo is a fully-integrated meat company that supplies multiple stores and a restaurant all over California.
Belcampo Farm, Shasta Valley, CA
Debbie Fields and her husband Jim have been organic farming in Bend, Oregon since "before it was cool." They have watched the landscape around their farm develop and transform, all the while steadfast in their dedication to organic agriculture and agricultural education. They have a CSA, farm store, and sell at the raucous Bend Farmers' Market. The farm is also a destination for many of Bend's school children, who come to Fields Farm to learn about compost, eggs, the origin of food, and ecological farming. We are fortunate to learn from those who have been involved in small-scale organic farming for so long because their dedication and commitment can teach us all.
Fields Farm, Bend OR
The weather in Centennial Valley just outside Laramie, Wyo is not the most conducive to human habitation, much less crop cultivation. In response to their landscape, Celeste Havener and her husband Gary are hearty and clever people. Despite high winds, heavy snows, freezing temperatures, and isolated living, Celeste succeeds in growing food for her family and for the Laramie Farmers' Market, which she helped establish. She is a gentle wealth of knowledge.
High Horse Farm, Centennial Valley, WY
Friends of DeeAnne say, "When I die I want to come back as one of DeeAnne's animals." This speaks to the deep care, consideration, and compassion DeeAnne brings to her dairy operation. She milks two cows whose milk and cheese she provides to her customers through a herd-share program. She believes in the health benefits of raw milk and the self-sufficient aspects of a small family farm.
Doyle Family Farm, Riverton WY
How did two friends, Peggy Smith and Sue Conley, begin and build one of the most successful artisanal creameries in the country? This is the basic question that excites us about visiting Peggy, co-founder of Cowgirl Creamery. Peggy got her start riding the late-70's food revolution wave in the Bay Area, cooking at the famous Chez Panisse cafe. In the early 1990's, she and Sue ventured to Point Reyes to found Tomales Bay Foods, a local foods aggregating company, and of course Cowgirl Creamery. We look forward to learning about Peggy's knack for quality and the magnificent trajectory of Cowgirl's expansion when we visit their largest cheese factory in Petaluma, CA.
Cowgirl Creamery, Petaluma, CA
Gail Myers, PhD.
Gail Myers is a dynamo. An anthropologist by training, Gail wrote her PhD thesis on African American agriculturalists. Since then, she has been what we anthro nerds call an applied anthropologist par excellence: Gail applies her theoretical, intellectual understandings in the real world in order to improve the situation of black farmers. She blurs the line between high-powered academic, gardener, community organizer, food activist, and anti-racist activist. She founded Farms to Grow, Inc, an organization dedicated to supporting African American farmers by creating markets, providing skill training, and getting access to capital. Her work focuses on grassroots organizing and on-the-ground fieldwork; In August 2013 she launched the Freedom Farmers Market in West Oakland and she is currently making a documentary about black agriculturalists in the US. Gail also recognizes the limitations of policy that does not serve the people and so one day hopes to pursue action to change policy on the regional, state, national, and international scale. What is it really all about for Gail? Love!
Farms to Grow