Farm Spotlight: Patchwork Family Farm

May 16, 2024

Patchwork Family Farm is owned and operated by Amy and Bryan Willoughby in Copper Hill, VA.  It is a “patchwork” of their collective skills, life experiences, and passions, that took root in 2009. Their family farm is located in a misty micro-climate on the edge of the Blue Ridge escarpment spanning Floyd and Franklin Counties. The farm uses organic production methods to grow nutrient-dense, flavorful food for their community.  

Patchwork’s farming systems emphasize living soil, low- and no-till growing methods, seed choices, and season extension. Crop specialties include unique salad blends, greens, tomatoes, and culinary herbs. Each season brings them closer to a regenerative farming system teeming with life both above and below ground. The Willoughbys eat what they grow, live where they work, and love to share it all with their community.

The Willoughbys' inspiration to grow food is rooted in activism and the need to educate eaters to be engaged in their food systems. This is still what drives the Willoughbys each season and feels as imperative as it did when they started growing on this land 15 years ago. The practical farming skills they have learned and honed along the way – plus the successes of their farm model – serve as a platform for the awareness-building and community education behind the food.  

Being part of the organic, local food and farming movement as both producers and eaters has offered Amy and Bryan a well-rounded perspective on the challenges of building and supporting a vibrant, accountable food system. Awareness continues to be paramount to building support and retaining it. Despite the obvious benefits of supporting local food systems, food still carries with it long held misconceptions about what it takes to grow it and how much it should cost.   Educating consumers about the true value of local food and the hidden costs of the dominant food system remains an aspect of Patchwork Farm's marketing that they consistently emphasize and re-frame for the community.

Other challenges include climate instability and general awareness of the differences between a farm like Patchwork and those that grow the food stocked on most supermarket shelves.

The farm continues to be the Willoughbys' favorite place to raise their family, connect with community, and share the delicious abundance of local food. Find out more at the farm's website: https://www.idigpatchworkfarm.com.

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