Tour De Farm Tour: Urban Folk Farm

The following guest post was written by one of our own volunteers, Johanna Vogt. Read on for Johanna’s bio. Simon Hoek Spaans and Alina Gonzalez of Urban Folk Farm are such a warm and welcoming couple that when I dropped in to visit their farm, I felt like I was meeting with distant family for the first time! They only know one way to talk with strangers—and that’s as friends. Fairly new to the First Coast area, they founded Urban Folk Farm in 2014 as “city folk” from South Florida, seeking a new purpose. With their generous spirits and a gentle urge to instill their love of gardening in others, they are a great NEW addition to the Tour de Farm this year!

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It was inspiring getting to know Simon and Alina, realizing all they know about farming has come through diligence, networking, and genuine interest. With Simon’s family background in dairy cattle, he has applied all he knows about the farming industry and switched gears over to plants. He loves to watch them grow, and much of his success has come by trial and error. Alina, a former educator, is equally as passionate as Simon about teaching people how to grow their own food.

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You will find Urban Folk Farm on two of the suggested loops for the tour: the “Bartram Trail and West” and “Farmland West and North”. At the farm, you will find a permaculture garden, which Alina uses to inspire others—from school-aged children to the elderly—to reap all the benefits of gardening. Behind the garden is a beautiful landscape used to harvest their seasonal vegetables, and a nearby lot contains the beginnings of an amazing orchard, including fig trees and various citrus.

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Don’t miss the chance to check out Urban Folk Farm at the Tour de Farm! Joining them for the day will be Chef Matt Gilligan from 904 Restaurant; Shai and Charlotte from Olive My Pickle; a permaculture demonstration by Jon Jessup of Our Fertile Earth; and Mary Saltmarsh of Academie de Montessori to provide activities for the children.

You can find more information and follow Urban Folk Farm on their Facebook page.

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JCVogt Headshot

About Johanna:

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.