So many of you have been so supportive during our big transition and asked how it was going at the farmers market, by email, or on social media. This is our last week of the Farm Share, and we are knee deep in transition so we figured it was a perfect time to write a quick update.
Chelsea and Tripp are already in Rome currently living with my parents until we get our stuff moved in to our new house. Also, we have a new house! We did not expect to find a great rental to move into until at least August, but we lucked out (see below) and picked up a key for our new house on July 2nd after a glorious week-long family vacation on St. Simons Island. I've made a few trips up with the cargo van, but for now Chelsea and Tripp are staying with Nana and Grandaddy and slowly unpacking.
As you may know, Chelsea began working at the Montessori Academy at the Early Learning Center in Milledgeville last fall. That experience really sparked her interest in education, so she began applying for teaching jobs this spring. She was originally interested in early childhood education and was offered a K-5 position as a gifted resource teacher. Due to some state funding and licensing issues, we discovered in June that she would not be able to take the position. Luckily, she was offered a position teaching 8th grade English and language arts. On Monday, she began training through the GA TAPP program, an alternative licensing program for teachers who have been offered a job but do not have a degree in education. She'll be training for most of July, and her first day of class is August 3rd.
August 3rd is also a big day because it will be Tripp's first day of school! He'll be starting pre-K at an elementary school where several of his Nana's teacher friends work. Thanks to our great new rental home, next year he'll start kindergarten at Nana's school. For July, though, he is enjoying lots of time exploring Rome and spending time with Nana and Grandaddy. When I visited last weekend, he HAD to show me his new bedroom and his new library and his new coffee shop, which is reportedly NOT as cool as Blackbird but has foxes all over it, which he thought was cool. It's been a tough transition for him, but he has been a real trooper through it all.
Last week, the planning board approved a special use permit for the site we'll be using for our new urban farm project. We are still working on a Memorandum of Understanding with the nonprofit that owns the land, South Rome Redevelopment Corporation. We expect to take at least a year to get on the ground before we actually break any ground, but we have lots of projects in the works with SRRC that we are looking forward to partnering on, including some community gardening programs and developing a local fresh market to bring produce into the neighborhood.
While most of my time is still taken up by the last few weeks of the Farm Share and farmers market, I have also been applying for jobs. I have an interview soon for a remote job with a national farmer nonprofit, but I've also applied for several other full-time and part-time conservation-related nonprofit jobs. For at least the next several years, we envision the new farm project will only provide part-time income and hours from me. We figure it will take at least a year to get settled in, and we will begin working primarily through partnerships with SRRC and other organizations.
Eventually, we'd like to form our own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to grow food and increase access to local food in Rome. Over the past seven years, we've discovered that we are drawn to farming not to grow vegetables but to grow connections to the people and places around us. We are most passionate about the things that don't necessarily cashflow: increasing access to good food, educating people about where their food comes from and how to grow it, organizing farmers for a more just food system, and building community through food. While we will always have our hands in the dirt, we hope we can create a career trajectory that gives proper emphasis to those things that really drive us.
Everything is beginning to come together around the future of the farm as well. The Middle Georgia Growers Cooperative and Elm Street Gardens have both expressed interest in taking over our Farm Share next year. We have one farming couple who will be familiar to many of our customers that has begun negotiating to lease the farm with an operation similar to Babe + Sage. If that doesn't work out, we have a few other interested parties lined up as well. Through our transition, we've met some great folks who are just beginning to do great things around food and farming in middle Georgia including Bentley Farms who are now selling at the Green Market, so we expect really great things ahead here in middle Georgia!
Finally, we'd like to thank each of you reading this for your support over the years. I don't know if we'll have time to send another update or see many of you before we are moved, but we want to make sure you know how much your support over all these years has meant to us. We would not have come to middle Georgia and started a farm as young twenty-somethings without the support we saw from this community! We already miss many of you dearly, and we hope we get to see you again soon.
Now, here's some photos from our adventures so far this summer:
Bobby + Chelsea
We grow tasty veggies, bake bread, host farm events, manage a farmers market, raise an energetic little munchkin, cook, restore this farm property, read books, and try to bring more good food and good things to middle Georgia!