The Lowcountry Local First Incubator Farm and Training Center is located on Walnut Hill Rd. on Johns Island, SC. The property has been divided into 1-2 acre lots for up to 6 farmers to receive business incubation as well as an area dedicated to hands-on education and training for apprentices, farmers, and the public. Read about the five farmers that have been selected for farm incubation below.
Spade and Clover
Two Acres of flowers, herbs, and vegetables managed by Andrew Werth and John Warren*, Spade and Clover grows heirloom varieties selected for their supreme taste and unique appearance. Werth and Warren use the complementary qualities of each plant as an alternative to herbicides, pesticides, and over fertilizing. The production methods include companion planting, cover cropping, and crop rotation. Buy a share in the season’s bounty by joining the Spade and Clover Club. As a member you receive a weekly share of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to complete your healthy diet. Weekly shares of 5-10 items are available for pickup starting February 13, 2013. By investing in your food supply, you reduce waste, avoid price gouging, and eat food grown in your backyard by your neighbors. Think outside the box store and connect with your local food source, Spade and Clover Gardens.
Compost In My Shoe
Dedicated to growing and developing high quality produce, products and services while nurturing the life-giving bond we all have with the land, Jim Martin with Compost in my Shoe will be cultivating a "boutique" farm know for high quality vegetables, herbs and cut flowers utilizing a hybrid farming model based in low impact farm practices. He will also expand his beekeeping operation, adding new hives to his two-year start up. The farm will expand the current CSA Farm Share program, while also moving more produce and products into the local restaurant market.
Gina Perez* will be farming a one acre vegetable, fruit and flower farm using integrated organic weed, pest and disease management along with the organic approach to fertility and nutrient management. The farm will also integrate beehives and pollinator habitats. The farm will focus on growing garlic, specialty squash, and winter greens such as kale and collards. Her products will be available at farmers markets, food trucks, and restaurants.
Sol Haven Farm
Utilizing one acre of land on John’s Island, this farm seeks to provide a wide variety of fresh produce, herbs and cut flowers to Charleston area residents, tourists, restaurants and businesses in response to the growing demand for locally grown food. With a long-term vision of creating an ecologically & economically resilient small farm model, Bo Collins* with Sol Haven Farm will focus its efforts on implementing and developing sustainable farming methods in order to maintain ecological health of the land, as well as to provide consumers with safely grown, healthy produce. Eventually, Sol Haven Farm seeks to expand into a small CSA operation and sustainable living education center, in order to create more predictable cash flow for the business, as well as to educate the greater community about the importance of supporting local food systems and voluntarily transitioning into lower impact, less consumptive lifestyles.
Harleston Towles* As Towles worked to complete a genealogy project his senior year of college, he discovered that he and his father were the only members of that side of the family not to make a career in the produce industry. After some post-project research, he stumbled upon the local agriculture scene and developed a deep fascination with the Buy/Eat Local movement.
He hounded Jack Limehouse for months about an internship at the family’s produce company, where Jack finally obliged, but was told to “literally learn the business from the ground up.” He began splitting his time between Limehouse Produce and Rosebank Farms, where he worked as a Lowcountry Local First apprentice under Jack’s cousin Sidi Limehouse and Louise Bennett. While his experiences at both well-established institutions have lent him a wealth of knowledge on all things produce, his love for the outdoors has found him on the farm full-time since August of 2012.
As an ardent supporter of land conversation, Towles holds a deep appreciation and attachment for the Lowcountry and the future of Sea Island agriculture. He proclaims, "we've got a long history of agriculture on these islands, all across the Lowcountry, really. The soil here produces some of the finest fruits and vegetables, in the world. We've got to preserve these rural agricultural areas so that future generations can enjoy what's grown here in the Lowcountry"
For spring and summer, Towles will be keeping the majority of his plot under cover-crop, while also allowing his friend and plot neighbor Bo Collins to share-crop a portion of the land. In the meantime, he plans to focus his efforts on launching a mobile farmers market which he hopes will improve farm-to-consumer accessibility throughout the Charleston area and it's impoverished food deserts.
*Denotes a graduate of the LLF Growing New Farmers Apprentice Program.