J and L Farm & Stables

J and L Farm & Stables

Jun 6, 2016 | Farmer Support, Meet My Farmer Monday

IT’S “MEET MY FARMER MONDAY!”

At J and L Farm and Stables they grow peanuts. And apples. And veggies. And grass-pastured hens that lay golden-yoked eggs. But mostly they grow love… specifically love for humankind.

Laurie and John Ritchie are what you might call gentlefolk farmers. She’s a retired schoolteacher; he still works as a mechanical engineer. The couple felt called to sustainable farming when their daughter-in-law started making baby food from scratch. This prompted them to look more closely at what she saw: the failings of our modern food system. Wanting to be a part of the solution, they bought 14 acres in Hephzibah, GA, in the year 2007, and haven’t looked back since.

J and L use their fresh, cleanly-grown food in ways that serve those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. They were instrumental in the start-up of the The Veggie Truck Farmers Market where SNAP benefits (food stamps) are doubled. They are one of Augusta’s few WIC approved local farmers. They are active in the farm-to-school movement in Burke County and have recently helped start a farm-to-senior-center trend in Columbia County. They ushered in the Certified Naturally Grown program into the Augusta area, first with their farm, and then by guiding others through it. They are now exploring the possibility of transforming their place into a “healing farm,” where people with disabilities can work the land in an emotionally safe environment while learning marketable skills.

 

Laurie and John are exactly the kind of people you want living next door to your own family. We are so lucky that they picked the local food system in Augusta as their passion, making J and L Farm a much beloved neighbor to us all.

#foodoasis #augusta