Help a Young New Farmer Start her Sustainable Farm: Octopus Garden NC

It takes a village to raise an eggplant! I need your support as I begin my first season of independent farming outside of Boone, NC!
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Caroline Hampton
229 Facebook Friends
Small Business
Valle Crucis, North Carolina
United States
1 Team Member

About the Farm and Farmer

A friend of mine once said “it takes a village to raise an eggplant.” Will you join my village??

I began working in sustainable agriculture when I was 19, and since 2012 I have worked on three sustainable vegetable farms, with the goal of eventually beginning my own farm enterprise. After working under several kind and knowledgeable farmers, I felt I had enough practical experience on the farm, but I wanted more formal education before starting out on my own. This past fall I apprenticed with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) in Goldsboro, NC (http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/), a program that supplemented my education through workshops, lectures, readings, conferences, and experiential learning on their organic vegetable farm.

The opportunity arose for me to begin farming independently this spring when I was accepted into the Farmer Incubator and Grower (FIG) program in Valle Crucis, NC (http://fig-farm.com/). The FIG Farm not only rents land to participants for production, but also provides access to greenhouse space, cold storage, an irrigation system, tools, and a tractor. In the 2014 season I am renting ½ acre for growing vegetables, cut flowers, and culinary/medicinal herbs.



What are my costs?

Costs that you are contributing toward include:

  •  Rent at FIG Farm
  •  Fees to join Watauga County Farmers’ Market
  •  Seeding materials: organic seeds, potting soil, seeding trays
  •  Soil nutrients: soil amendments and fertilizers, compost
  •  Trellising equipment: t-posts, rebar, tomato twine
  •  Pest management/weed suppression: row cover, organic approved sprays, mulch
  •  Harvesting materials: harvesting crates, knives, buckets
  •  Post-harvesting materials: wash tubs, plastic bags, market containers, wax cardboard boxes, sanitizer
  •  Market materials : scale, table for display


Why Donate?

The money you donate allows me to better grow and produce food for Watauga County. Whatever you are able to give has a bigger impact in this community down the road. Growing food sustainably directly benefits the community that I am growing in, creating a secure food system that does not pollute the water and air, and in fact provides habitat and forage for many insects and animals, like birds and pollinators.

My vision for the future is a world of local communities that are self-reliant, providing for their own basic needs within their community. To me, this is real sustainability, and what I am working towards as a small farmer. I also feel passionately about the health benefits of eating fresh vegetables, and I want to educate consumers about the produce I grow, and what is special about the way that I grow it.

The reality of the food system in our country is that our farmer population is aging: most farmers are 45+, and the most rapidly growing age demographic is those who are 65 and older (2007 USDA Ag Census). We need new producers entering the marketplace to ensure that we can feed ourselves! Like many other young people who want to farm, I struggle with the costs of starting a farm business. I have been lucky enough as a part of my rental agreement in the FIG program to have access to needed infrastructure and tools without having to purchase those things, but my many other costs really add up!


What does "sustainable" mean?

Mission Statement: I am committed to the production standards of organic farming, which means sourcing seeds from organic sources when possible (for me this is the vast majority), using organic materials to amend and enrich soils (including things like bone meal, manure, compost, lime), and only using organic sprays on crops that break down quickly in the environment, which are specifically listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), found here: https://www.omri.org/. 

My farming methods also include planting a diverse array of crops, providing habitat for beneficial insects and other wildlife, and using tillage practices that do not deplete the topsoil or cause erosion, with the goal of all farm practices to be soil-building.



Perks for you!!

I am an accomplished and imaginative cook, as well as a farmer. I love cooking with fresh produce and have also been preserving and canning vegetables for about three years. I am happy to be sharing my culinary knowledge as a way to promote using fresh, seasonal produce more, and to be able to eat local produce year round through preservation and fermentation. I have been told that pickles I made were the best they had ever had, and my former roommate is always pining for my sauerkraut. You won't be sorry if you choose one of these perks.



I live on about three acres of land in Valle Crucis, up a mountain road in a large old farm house with six bedrooms and three bathrooms. If you choose a bed and breakfast stay at my home you will enjoy sleeping in a large bedroom with a queen size bed and a lot of natural light, with your own bathroom to use (two sinks, tub/shower), with many interesting nooks to explore or to curl up to read a book. There is also a state of the art kitchen, where I will cook you breakfast with eggs from our hens! During the day you are within 25 miles of Grandfather Mountain, Banner Elk, and Boone. There are many great hikes, or you can go in town to visit the historic Mast General Store or eat a meal at the Mast Farm Inn. You can also just stay home, and sit on our wrap around porch, watch our chickens, tour our gardens and pick flowers with me, sit by the babbling brook! This is a wonderful place to be! See my photo gallery for more!


Herbs are fresh from my farm, cards are made with photographs taken throughout the season documenting farm life. Thank you for being a part of this!!


Other Ways You Can Help/Get Involved!

There are other ways to help the Octopus Garden if you can't contribute to the campaign!!

  • Please share this campaign on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and spread the word to friends and family personally or through email if you believe in what I'm doing- your support goes a long way when you spread it to your circle!
  • Everytime you "share" this campaign using the button under the video at the top of the page while logged into Indiegogo, you get a 5% perk return on any contributions that come from your share!
  • Send an email to octopusgardennc@gmail.com to join our email list and receive updates throughout the growing season!
  • Leave a comment/shoot me an email if you are interested in volunteering out at the farm this season!

THANK YOU!


Big THANK YOU to Haley Saunders for creating this video. haleydona@gmail.com

Music by Will Franke. Hear more at https://soundcloud.com/willfrankemusic. willfrankemusic@gmail.com


Find This Campaign On
$5,288USD
raised by 129 people in 1 month
106% funded
No time left
$5,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on March 12, 2014
In partnership with
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Hall of Fame

    Your name will be listed on a donor page on the Octopus Garden website as an expression of my eternal gratitude! All contributions are valuable!

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $10USD
    Big Thank You

    A personal email thanking you for your contribution, with vegetarian recipes made with fresh produce including pictures! Add'l perks: Hall of Fame

    12 out of 300 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2014
  • $15USD
    Pressed Flower

    A flower, pressed and dried, will be sent to you in the mail! Grown here at the FIG Farm in my first season!

    10 out of 40 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $25USD
    Rustic Card

    A handmade greeting card featuring a photo from the farm on the front! Add'l perks: Hall of Fame

    29 out of 200 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $50USD
    Herb Bouquet

    A diverse collection of dried herbs from the farm, great for cooking or making herbal teas! Recipes included for inspiration. Add'l perks: Hall of Fame, Rustic Card

    17 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $250USD
    Brimmin' Box of Produce

    1/2 bushel box of fresh produce from the farm! Where possible I will hand deliver to ensure maximum freshness! Add'l perks: Hall of Fame, Rustic Card, Herb Bouqet

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $500USD
    Culinary Delight- NC Only!!

    For NC Residents Only! I will travel to you to teach a class for you and five friends on a culinary skill of your choice. We will discuss possibilities, which include fermentation, canning/preserving or baking bread! Add'l perks: Hall of Fame, Big Thank You, Rustic Card, Herb Bouquet, Ferments! Pickles! Preserves!, Brimmin' Box of Produce

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Bed and Breakfast

    Stay two nights in a beautiful mountain farmhouse with a guest, and enjoy breakfast cooked by me with farm fresh produce and eggs! Enjoy a tour of the farm and go home with produce and flowers! Add'l perks: Hall of Fame, Big Thank You, Rustic Card, Herb Bouquet, Ferments! Pickles! Preserves!, Brimmin' Box of Produce

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2014
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