Our 128th Real Farmer Care recipient is Hayden Aloysius O'Donnell of Goodie Farm @goodiefarm in Cherry Valley, CA.
Hayden writes, “I’m a first generation farmer born in Georgetown, Guyana and raised in Southern California. I currently grow organic vegetables and herbs on one-acre of land with my wife Jane in Cherry Valley, CA. She takes the lead with customer communications, wholesale accounts, CSA management, and all aspects of financial activities for the farm business. I work on the farm full-time and manage daily tasks on field production.
My interest in growing food began with the arrival of our first child in 2009. The mistrust I had in our food system intensified, and I was feeling even more disconnected from the source of our food. I started growing food in our backyard in raised beds, and I was naturally good at it. In 2015 we made the decision to finally move out of the city. The transition was challenging, but with that change came the opportunity to farm. Long story short, farming chose me. I had no idea what it meant to be a farmer at the time. What it means to me now is commitment to the land, commitment to the process, and establishing a rhythm with the land.
During the pandemic our focus shifted and we were forced to make some quick changes. In 2020 we focused on a 24 week CSA. We find value in building relationships with our members, and their interest in connecting with the farmer who is growing their food - it drives us! We currently manage a few wholesale accounts as well, and in 2021 we are hoping to expand to meet the demand.
That said, as a small scale farmer, to keep up has been challenging. Access to more land is critical, and infrastructure is needed to expand our operations. Our hope is to continually grow the farm, engage directly with our customers and move toward a more equitable food system.”