Farmer Seeking Roots
My name is Joneve Murphy. I am an organic farmer. I started my career over 11 years ago, and never looked back. There is no feeling like expending your energy and labor to nourish others. My first farming position was at Green Meadows Farm in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. We ran a CSA and I started a wholesale business, selling food to restaurants in the greater Boston Area. I then moved on to manage 6 acres for The Inn at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne Vermont. After that I moved down to the DC area and grew for Ayrshire Farm in Upperville Virginia. I am now the farmer for The Inn at Little Washington; a double 5 star restaurant in the foothills of the Blueridge mountains in Virginia.
Throughout my career I have spent the off seasons traveling in Asia. While there I have spent time volunteering on farms, wandering through agricultural areas and markets, soaking up the knowledge that I found. I have learned so much from these excursions over the years. I have found new varieties of produce, new techniques and new passions. I have worked with farmers growing rice, turmeric and other spices, fruit and vegetables. These excursions were always something that I just did for myself, a way to take a break from the responsibilities of my own land, but still engage in growing food. That is about to change.
About My Project:
I am launching a new project in June called Farmer Seeking Roots. I plan to travel through Europe, Asia and South America for one year volunteering on farms and following the food home with a consumer to cook, eat and share recipes. I will explore many avenues of sustainable agriculture; family farms, cooperatives, school gardens, community gardens, pastured animals, urban farms and many more. I want to labor alongside the multitude of ardent family farmers in both developed and developing nations. I hope to share growing techniques, new varieties, and recipes, but also I want to share their passion. I want to highlight these farmers and consumers for the important decisions they make about food every day. I want to have a conversation with both farmers and consumers about their choices to support sustainable agriculture from either side of the plate.
Tea Plantations in Munnar, India
Tumeric Harvest, Navdanya Farm, Uttaranchal, India
Rice Paddies, Sapa, Vietnam
Why This Project is Important and What I Hope to Achieve:
I hope that through sharing these conversations I can inspire others to grow and eat organically and sustainably. I hope to share techniques that I find with other farmers, in an effort to further their food enterprises. I want to encourage others to support their local farmers and food producers, to grow something towards their own nutrition and the nourishment of their community. We live in a world dominated by Industrial agriculture, environmental degradation, and chemically laced foods. A world where the act of going to the grocery store has become an act of fear and guilt for many. We live in a world where the “experts” say that this monoculture cropping, antibiotic plumping, industrialized, polluting, chemical and factory based farming is the only way we are going to feed the growing population of this planet. I want to prove them wrong. I want to highlight farmers that are growing food in such a way so as to rebuild their soils, improve the local environment and engage with their communities. I want to highlight farmers and consumers that are creating and contributing to a movement much larger than themselves. Organic, sustainable, family farming is what is going to feed our world. People that engage with their land, that work to see it and the land surrounding flourish. Our personal health is dependent on the health of the soil, the forests, the oceans, the animals and people that surround us. We can no longer be insular in our decisions about food. We vote with our dollars more often and more impactfully than any of our votes at the ballot box. We, as a global community must support enterprises and people that are furthering the sustainable food movement.
I will share this journey; the triumphs, struggles and the people that I find through a photo journal and blog on my website: http://www.farmerseekingroots.com . I invite you to follow me.
Where Your Contribution Will Go:
I have saved 10K towards this project, and I am going to go, regardless of what I raise here. However that 10K is not enough to do the trip that I really want to do. Your contributions will help me to include Europe on this journey. It will also help me to travel for the entire year. There are many costs to consider; plane tickets and overland travel, food in between farms, health insurance, maintaining and updating the website, data charges, hiring translators and much more. I am doing everything I can to do this on the cheap. I’m hoping that most farms will trade me room and board for my labor. I will use couchsurfers, friends (old and new), and hostels for places to stay in between farms. I am all in on this project. I am selling everything I own, and I am putting my entire savings account into this. Please consider donating and helping me to bring this important project to light.
We can change our food system. We can vote for what we want our future to be.
Thank you for your interest in my project. Please remember that no contribution is too small! If you cannot contribute financially, please help by sharing, tweeting and generally spreading the word about my project to anyone that may be interested. If you can contribute, Great! Please share my project with your friends and tell them why you were motivated to donate.
Included in every perk is a huge debt of gratitude from me. Without your donation and support this project would not be possible. Thank you
1. The Farmer's version of a recipe card: I will send you a postcard with a copy of my potting soil, and compost tea recipe. Good soil and happy microbes are the backbone of a plentiful garden.
2. Exotic Postcard: I will send you a personal postcard from somewhere in the world. I promise to make it a good one!
3. Prints: My photographs from both my previous journeys in Asia, and the farms I have worked on during my career. There are more than 30 to choose from. All prints will arrive matted with backing and printed on professional quality paper. There will be no watermark on the image, but I will sign the mat (unless you specify that you would like it unsigned). Choose yours from the Gallery here,or from the prints available page on my website.
After you have made your contribution, I will email you to find out which print you want.
4. Gardening Guide: A PDF download of a gardening guide I've been writing over the past few years. It includes full growing instructions for over 100 different veggies, herbs and micro greens, as well as lists of my favorite varieties, tips on container gardening, space maximization, planting structures, trellising techniques and much more.
5. One on One Skype Sessions. You can choose what we do here.
We can have 1 session and spend a half hour discussing your gardening questions.
We can have two sessions: during the first session we will discuss your family's needs, garden starting tips and other questions. I will then use this information to create a crop plan for your garden. This plan will include succession planting plans to keep your family table lush with produce throughout the spring, summer and fall. During the second session I will explain your plan and answer any further questions.
We can also add a third and follow-up session. During this session
we will discuss how your season is going and any questions that may have come
up. This session will of course be while I am traveling so you pick the date
and we shall see where I am!
I will start consulting sessions after April 1st on a first come first serve basis.
6. In Person Consulting. I would love to help you with choosing your site, designing your space, drawing up time saving irrigation plans and drafting a crop plan to suit your needs. After the visit I will write your best plan for gardening success, and we can follow up on Skype with any questions or concerns you may have. I can do in person consulting for both families and businesses. I am an expert in succession planting and plans that utilize all four gardening seasons and maximize your yields. Please let me help you with your projects large or small.
I will start consulting sessions after April 1st on a first come first serve basis.
I will be in the DC area and available for onsite visits until the beginning of May, and in the North East early to mid May. Outside of these locals I may be able to come to your property, but you will be responsible for travel expenses. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with dates and location before donating to make sure that an on-site visit is possible. I look forward to meeting you and making your gardening/farming dreams come true.
**Have some consulting needs that you don't see listed here? Please email me and I will try to accommodate your needs. email@example.com
I hope you will enjoy following my journey over the next year through my blog at
If you are a farmer, artisanal food producer or food cooperative interested in hosting me and sharing your story, please get in touch.
Video Credit: Produced by Joey Walker withwww.dccameracars.com
Shot and edited by Ivan Kander withwww.lucky9studios.com
Profile photo credit: Molly Peterson. find her atwww.mollympeterson.com
All other images are my own
New article about my project in The Washington Post
read it here: http://wapo.st/1kLL0Q8