Farm Spotlight: Garden Variety Harvests

Cameron Terry and Chloe Johnson moved from Denver to Virginia in the fall of 2017 with the dream of starting an urban farming business. Garden Variety Harvests started farming the following spring on backyards and community gardens they rented in city neighborhoods. Farming yards was fun, but the practicalities of growing and harvesting on plots scattered around Roanoke was revealed to be too inefficient to be sustainable.

Since 2022, GVH has farmed primarily at Lick Run Farm: 3.5 acres of urban land in Roanoke that was previously the site of a family-owned plants nursery, and after that a permaculture nonprofit. Now, it is a family farm of a different sort, growing about an acre in vegetables and working with the community to plant marginal parts of the farm with various fruits, herbs, and pollinator habitats. Once the Agrarian Commons reaches their fundraising goal, GVH will have a 99-year lease to farm the land and the land will stay as a farm forever.

"I believe there is nothing more important than knowing where my food came from and how it was made, so GVH was launched with the goals of bringing food sovereignty back to my local community and reducing the miles traveled from field to table. Growing nutritious food for our community is the most rewarding career I can imagine," says Cam.

Garden Variety Harvests sells weekly at Grandin Village Farmers Market, bi-weekly at West End Farmers Market, and wholesale to the LEAP food hub, where the farm's vegetables find their way into the LEAP Farm Share and the LEAP Mobile Market.

GVH grows over 40 different varieties of vegetables with an emphasis on salad greens, root vegetables, and okra. “I chose to grow vegetables because it's a magical experience: turning seeds into sustenance in a few months is endlessly exciting. We use minimal tillage and organic inputs because we've found that treating the soil gently garners better results, and hearing the chirping birds is easier without the hum of a tractor,” Cam says.

Find out more about the Agrarian Commons model of land ownership here. Read more about Garden Variety Harvests, Take Root (a teen hands-on learning program), and the Fourth Friday Farmers Markets held at Lick Run Farm at the GVH website:

June 6, 2024
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