Meet Our Board Members: Darby Weaver, Walker Organic Farms
Are you on GFMA’s general board, executive, or advisory board?General Board
What region do you represent on the board?East Coastal Plain
Why did you join GFMA?I joined the GFMA for a lot of reasons. Being a farmer, farmers markets are an important part of my business. Connecting to the people who eat my produce feeds my soul. Ensuring that farmers markets are run fairly for vendors and provide a space for customers to learn and love local food is a mission I am very inspired by.
Why do you think others should join GFMA?Investing in the success of your local farmers markets is an important step in giving them longevity. The more we care about our markets, the more we care about the access communities have to healthful food and the more the farmers' livelihoods are protected. If we want our local foodways to work, we all have a role to play in making that happen.
As a board member, how do you support the work of GFMA?I am most interested in supporting growers through resources, outreach, and information that can make their businesses successful through their participation in markets. If you can create a space where farmers can make a decent living and know the individuals who are eating their food, that's pretty much the best way to preserve our rural landscapes and a major step towards food security in our state.
Where do you grow?Walker Organic Farms
Where is it located?Sylvania, Georgia
What do you grow/produce?We grow certified organic crops. A wide diversity of vegetables in all their seasonal beauty.
Where do you sell?We sell at the Forsyth Farmers Marketin Savannah, GA. We also sell to several restaurants in the Savannah area and even at some local grocery style stores. Sometimes our produce even makes its way to Atlanta.
Do you have a CSA?We are definitely considering adding a CSA for the 2016 growing season. Interested? Hit me up!
What GFMA benefit are you most excited about implementing?I am most excited about creating an information bank online about every market in the state. This would give growers a place to review all requirements, time frames, and other market resources to ensure they find a market that meets their individual needs.
Is this a family business? If so, who/how is your family involved?When you farm with people, they become your family. I am lucky enough to be partnered with Relinda Walker on her family land. She's an inspiration as a woman, organic farmer, and torch bearer in the Southeast. I hope to do her legacy and family proud as we move forward together, growing food and adding ecological sustainability to the landscape.
What’s the most exciting progress you saw in 2015?It seems like there are a lot of food advocate types working very hard at making local food accessible in all communities. This is important work and I am excited to see people from these communities building markets and foodways that meet their needs and celebrate the beauty of their regions and traditions.
What do you hope to see happen in 2016?It seems this year that some of the market attendance has gone down. It's as if the excitement of the local food scene has died down and the convenience of big "health" food stores is too irresistible to folks. I hope that through this board we can find ways to stimulate some more excitement around buying local products and encourage shoppers to put their dollars directly in the hands of some of their hardest working community members. An organic cucumber from the grocery store is alright, but can't hold a candle to a holistically grown cucumber right from your region holding within it the spirit of your local producer.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a farming business?Think big and start small. Never take on so much that you or your land suffers. Love your ecology and encourage it. Nature has some of the greatest tools in your toolbox and will work with you if you're willing to listen.
What’s your favorite vegetable? Least favorite? I have so many favorite vegetables and they change with the seasons. If I had to pick one to eat everyday, it might be garlic. That would be pretty stinky though. My least favorite vegetable is sweet potato greens. Can't even do it.