The first winter that Adam Valdivia and his three partners spent at Sleeping Frog Farms in southern Arizona was colder than they expected. The weather station was on a ridge, and so the temperatures they were using to guide their farming were about 10 degrees warmer than the air surrounding their plants.
“We had a really big hit,” Valdivia recalled. “We had jumped into an unknown and it came back to bite us in the butt.” Their root crops didn’t die, but were too soft to sell. The fava beans were devastated.
Since then, the four, which include Valdivia and his wife, Debbie Weingarten, C.J. Marks, and Clay Smith, have learned to adjust.
Amy Love is an educated and well-seasoned fifth-generation farmer, as well as a mother of two. She and her husband run Love Farm Organics, a CSA operation located in the Willamette Valley just outside of Portland, Oregon. This land has been farmed by the Love family for over 100 years. Love is passionate about genetic diversity, the well-being of the land and delivering quality food to her community on a modest scale.
I recently spoke with Amy about how her interest in farming developed, the sustainable methods she employs, and the future goals for Love Farm Organics.
Jerry and Janelle Stokesberry spent one of their first romantic outings at a local livestock auction, and over 30 years later find themselves running an animal farm of their own. Stokesberry Farm of Olympia, Washington raises a variety of livestock with a passion for providing nutrient-filled, local meat to their community. They feel strongly about the accessibility of their product as well as working with Mother Nature rather than against her.
I recently spoke with Janelle Stokesberry to learn more about the farm’s beginnings, challenges, and future goals.
When Maya Dailey started farming nine years ago, she had little more than big dreams and credit cards on which she purchased seeds. Today, Dailey runs a thriving five-acre farm on the edge of Phoenix, Ariz., and is a well-known figure in the local foodie scene.
She started by growing herbs and selling them to establishments in Santa Fe, N.M., where Dailey worked in the restaurant industry. After moving to Arizona, Dailey added flowers and eggs to the mix.
In 2006, Dailey started a full-time farm at her present location, leasing land tucked in the back corner of The Farm at South Mountain, a peaceful desert oasis featuring trees, grass, picnic tables, three restaurants, a home décor shop and a massage studio.
As a young man, Wallace Farms CEO Nick Wallace faced a health crisis that would radically alter the future of the Wallace family. “Wallace Farms started out of our parent’s garage in 2001 and it started because a year and a half earlier I had cancer— I was 19. Everyone was starting to ask questions as to how that could happen.”
What the Wallace family uncovered in their search for answers was unsettling information about our modern food system and the negative impact it was having on human health. “My dad heard [Sally Fallon from the Weston A. Price Foundation] talk and he came home and said ‘I think I know why you had cancer’ and we realized that the foundation of our food production had changed drastically in the last 20 to 30 years.”