Who We Are
We had over 30 people involved with the farm in different ways. Check them all out on this page!
A farmer, permaculturalist, and a food and farming thought-leader, he's studied natural farming methods and worked for farmers in California, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Oregon. Along the way, he's collected many skills from growing 4-season biodynamic vegetables, to managing a grass-fed dairy herd, making artisanal raw milk cheese, baking for production in a commercial wood-fired oven, natural building, and helping maintain permaculture sites.
Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, he managed a large CSA in central PA for the about 4 years. In that time, he expanded a quarter acre plot to a 12 acre working farm.
In January 2013, relocating to Asheville and transitioning from being Site Manager and Teaching Urban Farming at the Ashevillage Institute, he launched Patchwork Urban Farms in early 2014.
UJAMAA FREEDOM MARKET
Patchwork Shares now brought to you by Ujamaa Freedom Market! We have partnered with this amazing mobile market!
“Liberation through Cooperation” – We are a worker-owned cooperative mobile market which brings fresh local foods to under-served communities in Asheville, NC.
Ujamaa will be delivering all of our produce to our roadside stands and CSA pickup locations starting 2016. So now when you support Patchwork you are supporting Ujamaa!
Our Land Partners are doing a profound thing. They're offering land that they've invested in, and sharing it to help create abundant landscapes in the city.
Pearson Community Space and Farm Incubator
Bountiful Cities; incubation
Pearson Garden is a long time Community Garden in Montford. Bountiful Cities owns the garden in the name of food access, education, and community. 2014 was a new year for the garden. Darcel and Randall at Bountiful Cities heard about the Patchwork Vision, and thought it might be a great opportunity to start incubating burgeoning farm enterprises. So Patchwork has been kickstarted in a big way through this partnership.
Choctaw St. Peace and Fun Garden Patch
Michelle Smith; crop share, worktrade
I met Michelle at the Accelerating Appalachia celebration in 2013, and immediately connected on the new farm vision I had. She had a yard that was developed by Permaculture in Action in previous years.
This property is in a food desert of asheville, so we thought it would be good to set up a farm stand to bring fresh food into the neighborhood. In 2015 Ned Doyle built us a farmstand. Come check it out!
Sunny Keach; maintenance share
Sunny and I met when I was managing the demonstration site at Ashevillage. I was just there to pick up a bunch of plants from his big cleanup project at the garden. He mentioned back then that he was looking for a gardener to keep the place looking good in exchange for using the garden space. I told him I'd let him know if I came across anyone, not knowing it would be me!
This site has been a great producer for us from the start.
Nina Hart; crop share
Nina got in touch with us through our online survey to find land partners. I went over to check out the land and found some amazing terraces full of not so amazing soil. Also, I noticed that there were sizable yards adjacent to and all around the area. I am dreaming of the future of this site where there is a sizable cluster of land partners all in that area where we can start to design food systems across property lines.
And we're on our way to just that! The yard directly uphill from Nina's also became a land partner! We'll be at the very least installing a gate between the yards, and at the most dropping the fence completely!
James Tabor; crop share
I met James as he was mowing the lawn at his property. The house has been unoccupied for quite some time, but James comes back to mow the lawn that was once his grandmother's extensive garden.
One day, Evan was digging a swale at Nina's place, and saw him come to mow. Evan called me and I came over to catch James just as he was finishing. I told him about the farm, and boy was he excited! He told me about how he grew up in the house there, and his grandmother used to grow an extensive garden in the yard.
Garden Circle Patch
Scott and Renee Owen; crop share
I met Scott at one of our 2015 Farm Stand parties. We got to talking about his farm out in the country and how he has a beautiful yard in West Asheville that is just ready for gardens. I went over and found a sizable lawn that had a great combination of sun and shade. We established the garden in late 2015.
Cedar Hill Patch
Kelly Lockamy; crop share
I had briefly met Kelly and Tree when I was managing the gardens at the Ashevillage Institute in 2013. But it wasn't until the fall of 2014 that I was reintroduced with the possibility of a land partnership. This site is the largest of our sites so far, and it has great soil, and a great productive potential. Kelly has a big vision for the land as a whole to become a permaculture paradise of sorts and Patchwork is happy to be a part of that!
Robert Wood; land development share
I met Robert in late 2014 and I saw the exciting things going on in Falconhurst. Theres a large parcel of land right off Haywood Road. This land was farmed well into the recent past, and then lay fallow after the farmer passed away. Now Robert has bought it, and along with the neighborhood there, has a vision for community gathering spaces and food. In 2014 PUF farmed about 2000 square feet, and we are in the process of expanding the garden there, along with implementing a longer term plan to increase fertility on the whole parcel, and install perennial and annual food systems.
Robert Wood; land development share
Robert owns a bunch of properties in the Falconhurst neighborhood, and one piece on Dysart street is an open lot. Robert regraded it, and brought in topsoil and compost and sowed cover crop seeds last late fall. This land is officially part of the farm though it has a lot of work to be done on it. We're hoping for a fall crop from there in 2016!
New Pearson Patch
Gail and Pat Ferguson; crop share
Gail owns a rental property right across the street from Pearson Patch. She would come by and hang out with the chickens whenever she was around, and I think it was her love of animals that brought her to see if we wanted to use her yard for the farm. Well it was a very timely to meet Gail, because we were just about ready to move the chickens to a new patch. When I saw the yard, it was a little overwhelming given the rampant porcelain vine, brambles, and sasa bamboo. So we set about chopping that all down in late 2015 to make space for the chickens to do their work clearing and fertilizing. The space was used as a garden in the not too distant past, and we're working on getting the garden going in time for fall crops this season. There's plans for annual gardens and perennial plantings to go in soon.
The farm is managed by Sunil from growing operations to visioning. Marshall came on board last season as an apprentice and is working to keep the day to day workings of the farm happening. This year we plan to hire Marshall full time and build over the next few seasons to be able to employ 2 more people. We also have a worktrade program where folks put in time helping with harvest, sales, and professional services. We consider all these people as part of the farm.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE
We had work traders, land partners and paying members in our CSA this year. That's 19 shares we were able to put out.
The weekly boxes of fresh produce were pretty consistently impressive this year, if I do say so myself! Special thanks to all of our paying members who did the important "work" of contributing to the financial sustainability of the farm.
The local food movement in Asheville is vibrant, and we look forward to continuing building these relationships.