TERRA FLORA MARKET GARDEN
Sean, Maggie and their friend Lawton are currently cultivating just under an acre on their farm located in Norwood, North Carolina. They are leasing nine acres from a couple who are the current stewards of a portion of land southeast of Charlotte. They believe in the mantra "Know Thy Farmer" and encourage anyone with questions about the farm or their growing practices to find them at the farm or at one of their two current markets: Matthews Community Farmers' Market every Saturday from 8-12, or Sycamore Brewing every Thursday from 6-8pm.
Though there are eight farmable acres available, the market garden will be sustained intensively on one acre, utilizing practices Sean and Maggie learned from their time at Four Season Farm. These include:
Succession Planting (planting the same crop every week to ensure continued harvest throughout the growing season)
Bio-intensive crop rotation (pulling out spent crops to quickly make space for a new crop), and
Cover Cropping (planting grasses and grains in plots that won't be used for some time to prevent erosion and maintain nutrient density).
Organic practices (while they are not USDA certified they are committed to strictly following organic practices. These include no pesticides, no GMOs, no harmful chemicals).
No Till practices (beyond organic, the farmers are working towards a farm that is no till, meaning they do not use tractors or heavy machinery which compacts and degrades soil over time. They use their small walk-behind tractor to break ground, then working the soil consists of breaking it up with a hand-powered implement called a broadfork to aerate, and a tilther, which mixes just the top two inches of soil in order to incorporate organic amendments such as alfalfa, bone, blood, or feather meal, boron, compost, etc.).
Maggie, Sean, and Lawton's primary goal is conservationism through land, farming and place-based stewardship. They recognize that though the land is not "theirs," it never actually was, and there were many care takers of this land before them. They aim to farm in a way that will provide richer soil for generations to come.
While they have been privileged enough to find land with owners who support the efforts of young farmers, and who share a common goal of expanding responsible agriculture, starting a farm is certainly no small matter. If you find yourself in a position to donate to their Beginning Farm Fund, know that they are deeply grateful for your contribution, and your belief in them, and their passions. Any amount helps-- even $5 buys a packet of seeds!
The three are beyond elated to continue sharing the development of their livelihood and their shared dream. For more information about their backgrounds in farming and how they came to start Terra Flora, check out the "About Us" tab under About Us dropdown menu.
“To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.” -Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Observation, adaptation, and soil health are the focus of our farm.
Seeking to honor and support natural ecosystems is one of the many privileges of farming, and we are lucky to share a common goal of protecting the land, water, and their native species from degradation and exploitation. We seek to listen to and learn from the earth.
We value honing symbiotic relationships between animals, plants, soil and people. We strive to acknowledge wisdom of the past and connect it to those who will engage with the land long after us. The traditions of our farming practices are not new, and in fact have been informed by centuries of indigenous land stewards before us.
Sharing what we know is key to the success of this farm and the growth of our community. We do not own our knowledge; nor do we have all of the answers. Through collaboration opportunities and open conversations that aim to connect people with their food it is our goal to provide the educational tools needed to empower and create self-sustaining communities with greater access to nutrient-rich vegetables.
Farming is a commitment to life-long learning. Our team will continue to invite opportunities to learn with and from those who have a deeper knowledge of the land and the practices of which we seek to understand, as well as teach and share with those who wish to expand their awareness and comprehension of farming, gardening, and gratitude for the earth.