Who We Are
Sunil is currently farming 7 Patches in the PUF network, in North and West Asheville, and the Southside. He started the farm in 2014, and has since built the foundations for a cooperative to form in our city. He's got a flock of chickens in West Asheville, and grows vegetables, herbs, flowers, and has established perennial crops in various locations. He also cooks in various venues around town including on the farm in 2018!
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.
Teddy is currently farming on close to 10 Patches mostly in West Asheville. He's managing a flock of chickens and growing a diverse selection of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. As we transition into a cooperative structure for the farm, Teddy has been integral to establishing footing in our operating agreements, financial structuring, and grower cooperative development.
Teddy began his adventures market gardening at a young age, growing and selling vegetables and eggs on his family farm in New York to make money after school. While in college at the University of the South he was active in the development of the organic gardens and university farm program. In 2011 he moved to Asheville to search for work in local food systems, and ended up working full time as a supervisor for an organic produce farm in Black Mountain. In 2013 he worked for a smaller organic farm in Candler while also growing for restaurants on rented land, and in late 2013 moved to Scottsville, Virginia to start his own market farm on family land.
Teddy and his wife owned and operated a 2 acre CSA and market farm for two years, developing family land into productive space that fed 30 CSA members and hundreds of farmers market customers every week. In 2016 they moved back to Asheville, and Teddy began working with Patchwork in the late spring.
Farmer/Perennial Systems Pilot Program
Gabi has a passion for perennial plants and food systems. She is currently managing 1 Patch in West Asheville with a polyculture of cane fruit, perennial nursery trees, and more.
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 est. 2014
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.
This site has become a prototype for a neighborhood food hub, the likes of which we hope to create in multiple neighborhoods around town. It now serves as our "central" Patch in the network. We start all the plants we plant on the various Patches at our Pearson propagation greenhouse. And we also process and store our harvests here in our processing area and walk in coolers. This is shared space for multiple growers in the city.
Our hope is there will be many of these shared mini-food systems hubs that serve the micro food sheds in our city.
The impact of Bountiful Cities' contribution to PUF is profound, and will only get better as we vision a farmer education and incubation program to mobilize would-be growers to integrate into the PUF network and beyond.
Choctaw St. Peace and Fun Garden Patch est 2014
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. We did a pop-up food stand here for multiple years, but we are transitioning the structure into other uses. It could potentially become a cooler where people in the neighborhood can pick up their CSA shares and orders.
This site has been worked to become a perennial food site. There are a few perennial tree nursery beds including american plum, sour cherry root stock, and quince. A large Jerusalem Artichoke planting, and a blueberry planting going in in 2018. There's also a sprinkling of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and plenty of volunteer squash and tomatoes.
As we structure ourselves as a cooperative, Michelle has been a great help in testing the waters with applying Circle Forward organizing principles. The complexities of the grand vision of PUF are just beginning to build. As we grow, we hope we can integrate landowners, workers, farmers, food and land based businesses, and consumers into a cohesive network that empowers our city towards a secure and just food system.
Hillside Patch est. 2014
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 patch has been a great producer for us from the start. There is a medium sized garden plus an already established perennial garden full of ornamentals and fruit crops. Sunil is managing this one growing vegetables, and some perennial herbs. Sometimes the figs and persimmons make it into our product mix, but they aren't producing in large enough volumes. The fig trees there are good producers and are quite hardy in our climate, so Sunil Plans to multiply them in 2018 for a larger planting in the future.
Wellington Patch est. 2014
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!
This site started with very poor soil, and it has been a long hard journey to get it up to par. Gabi manages this and has planted a variety of cane fruit and other perennial plants.
Frances Patch est 2014
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.
Falconhurst Patch est 2015
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.
Dysart Patch est 2015
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!
Hibriten Patch est. 2016
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.
Allen Patch est. 2017
Renee Owen, the director at the school, was a land partner at her and her partner Scott's property near Hall Fletcher. They have since sold this property, so we're not farming it any more, but out of that relationship, we came to be farming some of the Rainbow School's land. Teddy manages this site, and has been growing vegetables and herbs along with doing learning sessions with the 4th graders in 2017. We hope to continue this relationship the the school to serve as a prototype for integrating into school gardens in the city. We believe that it would be highly beneficial for school gardens to have relationships with self-incentivized farmers in their school garden programs, and really test the viability of schools truly feeding themselves locally by being connected to a farmers network such as PUF.
Mckinnish Patch est. 2016 (as part of Psycho Chicken Eco Farm)
Peter Brezny and Trina Egan
Peter got in touch in 2015, intrigued by what he'd learned about Patchwork. I learned that he has a farm called Psycho Chicken Eco-Farm just outside the city line in West Asheville. At the time, I was overloaded with the other Patches, so turned him down, but we got a sweet connection the the Wedge Brewery to pick up their spent brewer's grains. This substance is a great addition to a compost pile or directly into a garden bed.
In 2016 I called him and said I'd like to grow my corn and potatoes in the field they offered PUF in 2015. We went forward with it, and since then, we've developed the field to be the biggest veggie field in the Patches. Peter and Trina have been developing the sorely neglected horse farm they bought into a permaculture paradise with keen foresight and great land management practices to the ready the farm as a whole for an ecologically functional whole. They are hoping to transition into being full time with the land, but live in town currently as the farm develops into a sustainable prospect for them. It's been a pleasure to work with them in the project, and will continue to be a fruitful relationship into the future.
Sunil grows veggies, herbs and flowers at this site.
Pisgah View Patch est. 2017
I have known Amy since 2015 or so, when I joined the board of Bountiful Cities. She teaches at UNCA, and bought some land in West Asheville. In 2017, we talked about it becoming a part of PUF, and we're now farming it in earnest. Teddy has a flock of chickens there, and has established a sizable garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Teddy and his wife Mary are now living on this Patch, and it is the first of our Patches to have a live-in farmer! In the future we envision, we see land owners not only offering land, but also offering housing to farmers by building small auxiliary accommodations on their land.
PATCHES BEING ADDED IN 2018 - more info coming soon!
Oddbits - Steve Eisenstien
Hummingbird Lane - Kelcie Barker
Pennsylvania - Jeff Hersk
Without our CSA members, we would be nothing. By committing to the farm, they're indispensable in making it possible for us to have secure livelihoods as farmers.