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It’s important to buy from farms whose practices you know and support. This is why farms listed on the OGS Farm Network are vetted for their engagement in the local community, their commitment to educating the next generation of farmers, and their use of sustainable and/or organic practices. But these aren’t the only things they’re good at — below are a few specialties of some of our Farm Network farmers. Read more about the farms you buy from to become a more educated consumer.

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Green Toe Ground — Whole-Farm Biodynamic Design

For Nicole and Gaelan, owners and operators of Green Toe Ground, using biodynamics on their farm is an ethical decision, and promotes the idea that we can create a system on the farm that can feed itself. Based on principles laid out by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s, biodynamic farming draws on natural farming systems that have been in use around the world for centuries. The farm is viewed as a whole organism, and biodynamics offers a healing and production-oriented process that strives to create balance between the natural processes we can’t see in the soil and what manifests above ground.

Essential ideas core to the belief of biodynamic farming include:

About Purchasing from Green Toe Ground...

“We have been working with Green Toe for almost 15 years and have been pleased 100% of the time – both with product and service.”

– Julie, owner of Early Girl Eatery, Asheville, NC

“I have been a member of Green Toe Ground’s CSA for over 12 years. Having the CSA with them is a way of life for me and my family. Gaelan and Nicole have become close friends of mine. They have a wonderful way of connecting with customers through the food they sell. I believe they embody what it means to be an organic farmer in their relationship with the land, their lifestyle and beliefs, and the people they serve.”

Dan, CSA member

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Franny’s Farm — Reaching out through Agritourism

“Agritourism is our bread and butter,” Franny, owner and operator of Franny’s Farm, says plainly, “plus I love to have a good time and listen to music so having it as a part of the farm made sense for us.” When Franny’s Farm first started, they intended for produce and livestock to be their primary enterprises, but then had the opportunity to host the “Barnaroo” music festival shortly after. Their agritourism enterprises have continued to grow ever since. They having been using Air BnB and offering lodging on-farm for three years, and it is what drives the farm financially now. All of the campsites and cabins are off the grid using only solar power. Visiting and staying at a farm like Franny’s is a great way to get an idea of what farm life is like, and get plugged in to the local farming community.

About Purchasing from Franny's Farm...

“I absolutely love Franny’s Farm. Frances and Jeff Tacy are so devoted to producing healthy food and they educate their customers on the benefits of organic, non-GMO foods. Everything I have purchased from Franny’s farm has been delicious — from their juicy tomatoes to their Thanksgiving turkeys. They are the best!”

Heather, customer

About participating in the Franny’s Farm community…,

“Franny’s Farm is not only a beautiful and well run establishment, but also very educational and informative as well. I greatly appreciate the knowledge I have gained from her experience and the ability to be a hands on participant.”

– Natacha, customer

Thatchmore Farm — Using Alternative Energy Throughout the Farm

What makes Thatchmore Farm stand out is their clear dedication to alternative energy and on-farm energy production. Wherever you turn, Tom (owner/operator of Thatchmore) has an alternative to the traditional fossil-fuel band aids that have infiltrated our first-world culture. Ever since he and his wife moved to this land almost 30 years ago, they’ve been moving towards the direction of being a net producer (vs. consumer) of energy. Tom’s alternative energy of choice is solar power, and he uses it in every way he can from solar water collectors to his solar, exhaust-free electric chain saw and woodsplitter. With his solar panel set up, Thatchmore offsets about 98% of the energy consumed on his farm with solar energy produced on his farm; most of the energy goes to run the house, the fans in the greenhouse, and the walk-in cooler.

Looking for find more sustainably-grown food in Western Appalachia or wish to be listed as a sustainable producer? Search or apply to the OGS Farm Network.

Sera Deva

Author: Sera Deva

Sera Deva has a B.S. in Microbiology & Agroecology from The Evergreen State College. She works with OGS as the Director of Programs & Systems Design, is the President of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Board of Directors, and is the Administrative Director for The Firefly Gathering. When she’s not geeking out over genetics, systems theory or soil hydrology, she spends her time growing and eating food in the South Toe Valley in Burnsville, NC.

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