Gathering Together Farm
WILD GARDEN SEED is part of the Organic Integrity of GTF
along with a complete along with a complete line of fresh market vegetables grown on 50 acres for farmers’ markets, local food co-ops, restaurants, CSA, wholesale, and our own farmstand, kitchen, and restaurant. The farm employs about 65 people on-farm during the middle of growing season (twice as many as 5 years ago), and we all still enjoy the workday tradition of mid-morning break with snack, and Farm Lunch, when we gather to eat together the food we grow together, provided by farm owners John Eveland and Sally Brewer.
Seedfolks Frank and Karen Morton of Shoulder to Shoulder Farm co-ordinate seed production within the overall farm system, and manage the harvest, cleaning, and marketing of seed crops with a lot of help from their sons, Taj and Kit, and a dedicated seed crew led by Hank Keogh, who also manages several WGS acres at his Avoca Seed Farm. Eric Budzynski joins Hank in crew leadership in 2012, and is the editor of The Chaff Pile blog. Breeding new varieties for organic farmers is part of the Wild Garden Seed mission, largely based on the Morton’s work on their own farm. Wild Garden Seed from Gathering Together Farm brings their creative effort into the public domain seed marketplace.
Gathering Together Farm managers Joelene Jebbia and Rodrigo Garcia are the ever-present eyes and attending minds from the greenhouse to the fields to the barn and markets. They see and touch it all: from sowing through weeding to washing and selling the produce, to knowing the seed catalogs, the standards of excellence in varieties, the state of the crops in the field, and where the crew is working when.
The Crew works incredibly hard on this farm. One hears a lot of español, sees a lot of fast work done with a practiced pace by many hands. Most of the crew has worked at GTF for years, but every season brings young hands that want a try at this farming thing. John and Sally are ever-building their dream team, and striving to make Gathering Together Farm a model for a working farm community.
Farm fertility is based on cover crops and hot-composted ley crops, manures, and leaves, leaves, leaves. We’ve recently started incorporation of terra preta biochar into our fertility management. Occasionally, the fields get a fresh layer of winter flood silt from the Marys River.
Our goal as farm-based seedspeople is to make our farms function better by the added crops and biodiversity that seed growing and selection brings, and to share our work in breeding, crop improvement and agroecology with other farmers like ourselves. We intend to be an attractive model for others to improve upon, and thereby help move organic farming further ahead.
Seed saving and adaptive selection have been part of the farmer’s rights and responsibilities since the emergence of agriculture. As practitioners of this old art, organic farmers can reclaim the power to forge crops that better fit their land, their systems, and their imaginations. Gathering Together Farm and Wild Garden Seed are working with farmers, researchers, and other seed companies to co-create an organic seed system that provides quality seed, varietal diversity, and superior genetics.