If there’s any group of farmers that relies on independent and local marketing in today’s food trade, it’s organic and local farmers. Today I feature Delvin Farms, an organic producer from Nashville, Tennessee. One of the great things about agriculture and food in this country is that we are able to afford food choices. Although I personally can’t afford organic products in my budget, I think it’s great there are local food options for those who can. This is another great example of the diversity of agriculture highlighted in my month-long series. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?
My two older brothers and I fled the farm as soon as we could upon graduation from high school! We all three went to the University of Tennessee and two of us have returned to the farm full time. It’s funny how you dream of leaving the farm and once you’re gone you dream of returning home to it.
Our farm is a certified organic produce farm outside Nashville, TN. We were lucky enough to have the best of both worlds growing up- the “city” life and the “country” life. We attended Catholic schools in Nashville and were very involved in 4-H and farming. I was the only one in my elementary and high school who lived on a farm, so I’ve spent my entire life educating others of what farm life is like.
Delvin Farms was not always certified organic. My parents started the business in 1972 and sold produce to distribution centers. In 1998, my “hippie” brother talked my parents into transitioning the farm to organic when it was looking like the outlets we were selling to were starting to close. They began a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with 25 members and had the farm certified and today the CSA has 800 members. Because we direct market our produce, we stay connected to our customers and have a wonderful opportunity to educate others about agriculture.
I’m involved in the Young Farmers and Ranchers group and I think it’s important we stay connected to one another for support and for knowledge of agriculture issues. My farm is very small compared to most in the Farm Bureau group. Some of the farmers own thousands of acres, yet in our line of work we are considered a “large” produce farm of 220 acres. Sometimes we hear that people won’t shop from us at the markets because they consider us a “large, factory farm.” I think if a family farm is able to support three families it’s successful, and that’s not a bad thing! When I left the farm after graduation I certainly didn’t think I would one day be educating others about the value of agriculture or harvesting every day for markets and restaurants. I’ve always been proud to be the “farm girl,” I should’ve known I would one day return home.