Initially, Linda and Eric spent most of their time building infrastructure and soil health. "This has been a dynamic experience of passionately doing something we believe in," says Eric of the early years that Barefoot Gardens was in business: "we dug a well for irrigation, built a deer fence, shed and greenhouses, all while essentially apprenticing with ourselves and trying to grow food." Started as a 12-member CSA, the 12-acre farm has grown to serve 45 CSA members, and now also supplies restaurants and is a weekly presence at the Doylestown Farmers Market. Last season they added full-tiime farmer and recent Del Val Horticultural graduate, Aston Ward, who brought with her two years of experience working with other area farms. Barefoot Gardens grows a wide variety of vegetables and herbs and raise chickens on pasture for their eggs. They are working towards organic certification, which means they follow NOP Organic Practices and do not spray pesticides or use synthetic fertilizers. Says Eric of his and Linda's experience farming so far: "People want good food and they want to know who their farmer is - they are thinking about minimizing their impact. This empowers us to be good stewards of the land. At any given moment we are doing what we believe in."
And how does Eric think that the Doylestown Food Co-op will add to the expanding community of people who are looking for food that is healthy for all involved? "There's a piece of advice I got early on in this endeavor: 'the best fertilizer is a farmer's footsteps' - the more a farmer is out in his or her fields the healthier the crops will be. It works the same way for consumers - the more intention and attention is invested in your food, the healthier the whole system will be. The co-op will be a place where people can actively show their commitment and their intentions, which will grow the health of our community and our food system." www.barefootgardens.net
by Allegra Avila
Doylestown Food Co-op Member Owner and Marketing Committee Co-Chair