Tour De Farm Tour: Down to Earth Farm
The following guest post was written by one of our own volunteers, Johanna Vogt. Read on for Johanna's bio. I was excited to visit a farm who has been with us all three years and has played a big role in the Slow Food mission, providing seasonal fruits and vegetables to the Jacksonville community year-round through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and local farmers markets! Brian and Kristin Lapinski founded Down to Earth Farm in 2007 and had a one-acre lot when they joined us for the first Tour de Farm in 2012. They have since doubled their farm to two acres, which includes a new greenhouse on the recently acquired land.
There is much to be learned at Down to Earth Farm about seasonal planting, crop rotation, and sustainability. Brian works hard, but it is immediately apparent everything on the farm is a labor of love. You truly feel like you are connected with the earth here, as nature is allowed to take its course.
Behind the rows of planted crops are several varieties of plants to invite any and all insects—natural pollinators—to the farm and allow them to carry out their role on the farm. Brian invited me to venture in among the sesame plants for the best photographs. I hesitated due to an irrational aversion to grasshoppers, but just a couple steps in, and I was easily lured by the beauty of what I saw. I lost count of the number of different insects around me, but life was everywhere. Nature was thriving!
Down to Earth Farm is a beautiful balance between life and labor. It is a natural, flourishing ecosystem born of hard work. You won’t want to miss this gem, just outside downtown Jacksonville! Joining them will be Chef Sam Efrom of Taverna; Bakery Ribault; and Brew Five Points.
Johanna recently discovered Slow Food First Coast in a discussion about various food movements while studying nutrition and dietetics at the University of North Florida. Prior to moving to Jacksonville, she earned a Bachelors degree in Animal Science from the University of Florida.
After working for 15 years in the animal health industry, Johanna remains passionate about sustainable agriculture, including the fair and humane treatment of all livestock. Slow Food was therefore a perfect match for her to get involved with the local community and connect people with the food they eat! Johanna aspires to become a registered dietitian/nutritionist, with a keen interest in diabetes education and integrative and functional medical nutrition therapy.