So, here we go! Again…
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Barefoot Farm is back in business and I couldn’t be more excited! Farming is in my blood. Nothing brings me more joy and fulfillment than growing and nurturing living things from start to finish. Now that I’m too old to produce another little human and the little humans I am responsible for aren’t technically little anymore, I am more than happy to focus my obsessive tendencies on growing food again.
Barefoot Farm officially began in the early 2000s when Mark and I became weekend warriors and started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Mark was working full time in Lexington and I was a full time homeschooling mom to our four young barefoot boys. And yes, that’s the origin of our farm name. Our kiddos were known as the barefoot boys so of course we named our farm Barefoot Farm. Our homeschool name was Barefoot Academy for Wayward Boys. Needless to say, we fully embraced our children’s dislike of footwear. To this day, our second born only personally owns one pair of shoes - flip flops. You saw that coming didn’t you? He has a pair of mudders he slips on for the really messy work but he won’t actually claim them as his.
Barefoot Farm CSA was a really positive experience for us. We learned a ton about the practicalities of growing commercially but equally important, we gained much needed confidence in our ability to grow healthy food naturally in large quantities. Growing lots of food isn’t always easy. It’s often exhausting work and can be incredibly time consuming. It’s a never ending battle against ever-changing conditions, many of which are completely out of your control. Late freezes. Mid summer hail. Coyotes love sweet corn, who would have thought? And don’t get me started on smart weed. Or bindweed. Or cucumber beetle. Or squash vine borer... Yes, growing food can be challenging, especially when using natural, organic and sustainable growing methods. But wow, it's incredibly satisfying!
We discontinued Barefoot Farm CSA when our daughter was born in 2008. At that point life was getting pretty intense, homeschooling was becoming more involved, the boys were starting to play sports, and the baby required a lot of time and energy, as all littles do. Stepping back from farming was hard but the right decision for us at that time. However, we never stopped growing, we just stopped commercial production. We’ve spent the past 12 years experimenting, fine-tuning, and building infrastructure for Barefoot Farm. We have added a greenhouse and a high tunnel to the farm for season extension. Most of our experimenting has been with urban growing in our Lexington backyard and basement. We love the farm, but we love Lexington too.
Barefoot Farm - Fogertown is located in a small farming community in Clay County, KY. I grew up in this community, as did my dad and my grandparents and great-grandparents. This property has been in my family for over 100 years. So when I say that farming is in my blood, this is part of what I’m talking about. There is an inexplicable connection and draw that I feel for that little piece of land.
Barefoot Farm - Lexington is located in the Lansdowne Neighborhood of Lexington, KY. Mark grew up in our current home and we feel a strong bond with this property as well. We fortunately have a fairly large yard, especially considering we’re located inside the circle, which allows for lots of room to experiment with urban growing. We have wonderful neighbors that never complain to us personally about our little experiments. And we have an amazing neighborhood association that doesn’t restrict urban agriculture beyond the city ordinances. We’re not the only family in our neighborhood with chickens!
Barefoot Farm LLC was formed in April, 2020. Like many other Americans right now, 2020/2021 has us feeling an incredible amount of stress, discomfort, sorrow, horror, fear, frustration, thankfulness, clarity, resolve, optimism, love… We’re feeling all the feels! My long term goal has always been to farm. Taking into account our current global situation, we believe that focusing on urban growing is the most impactful way we can contribute to a better future. There are many reasons why “Victory Gardens” were such a success during WWII. Not only did they relieve stress on the food and transportation industries by feeding thousands locally, but they also empowered the people. We can all contribute to a better world still today by producing some of our own food. We realize that most people are going to need a little help with this and that’s where Barefoot Farm comes in. We will be growing for sale at both our Barefoot Farm locations but our focus for now is on urban growing. We want to see food growing in every Lexington, KY yard! And all this growing needs to be done as sustainably as possible which means composting services are a big part of our business model. There’s a lot of potential out there for improving the health of our families while benefiting the environment at the same time.
I’m starting this blog for a couple of reasons. The top reason is I want to educate, motivate, and empower people to grow food. I believe that most everyone has the potential to grow something. It might be as small as windowsill herbs or mason jar sprouts. There are some really fun mushroom growing kits available. How about a tomato plant in a pot on your front porch? Some veggie plants are really pretty and make nice additions to existing landscape plantings; eggplant is one of my favorites for this. I also love to let pumpkins vine in already mulched landscapes. There are lots of ways to get started growing and this will be where I’ll share ideas. I will also share our journey, both our successes and failures. We love trying new things which unfortunately means our failure rate is quite high. Farming in general is so unpredictable that we consider failures a given. And we’re okay with that, we believe you learn way more from what goes wrong than from what goes right (this is also our homeschooling philosophy.) Our goal is to limit the number of disasters that occur in any one year! Of course being at the mercy of Mother Nature certainly complicates things. That’s where a little meditation and a lot of deep breathing comes in handy. Overall though, farming brings me great joy. This is what I want to share with others. So, how about it? Let’s Grow!