Adriana Giacalone and Kate McGoldrick

Thousand Leaves Farm

Farm Name:

Thousand Leaves Farm

Country of Origin:

United States

Graduation Year:

2020

Adriana and Kate had a mission to bring herbs back to the kitchen table as nourishing foods, and are proud to be a small scale, diversified farm selling culinary and medicinal herbs, specialty vegetables and flowers. Together they work to offset over harvesting of endangered species, and provide a local source for fresh herbs and veggies. Although starting a farm in the midst of a pandemic has drastically changed their approach to farming, Adriana and Kate decided to grow a lot more vegetables in hopes of aiding food distribution efforts. The pandemic also led Adriana and Kate to scale back on their initial goal of selling fresh herbs at market for the season and have instead opted to dry most of their herbs for availability during the winter months. Together they are thinking about long term approaches to farming that feel more equitable and sustainable. The pandemic had caused Adriana and Kate to examine what their priorities are in the long term as growers.

Right now, Adriana and Kate are selling their produce from their farm, Thousand Leaves Farm, to the Foodhub. They really wanted to take this year to establish themselves in the field and nail down some standard operating procedures. Next year Adriana and Kate will focus on distributing their herbs locally, and will be launching a restorative foods CSA share.

Adriana had always been drawn to plants, and as a herbal apprentice, she started gardening and experimenting a lot in the kitchen. To her, the use of herbs is intertwined with food and community, and farming became the next logical step as she became really interested in that link. For Kate, she kind of fell into farming. Kate had been doing electronic repair before she moved back home and was out of work. After striking up a conversation with the owner of a family farm in town, Kate was offered a job and totally fell in love with the work. Between working that first farming job and the encouragement of her partner, Kate's experiences led to this point. For Adriana, volunteering on small farms really offered her some perspective and solidified her views on the benefits and importance of local agriculture that led her to this point.

This is Kate's 9th season farming but she has never operated her own business before. The field work and planning comes naturally but balancing all the other stuff has been a new learning experience. Adriana's job right now is in the organic gardening field. With farming, the scale is much different and Adriana has had to adjust to the challenges of productions, although it has been really rewarding to see their food from Thousand Leaves Farm head out into the community.

One of Adriana and Kate's goals this year was to grow without the use of plastic. They built their own raised beds and are utilizing plant based mulches at Thousand Leaves Farm. This initially was a bit more work and weeding than Adriana and Kate had planned for, but it has been so rewarding for them to know they are enriching the soil with organic matter. Around this time of year, the weeds have calmed down so Adriana and Kate are mostly focused on harvesting, seeding fall crops, and planning for next year. 

They are experimenting with low till farming, and half of their field is permanent beds that will be cultivated by hand. At Thousand Leaves Farm, Adriana and Kate are using natural plant based mulch to suppress the weeds. Thousand Leaves Farm is not certified organic, but they follow organic practices and are experimenting with companion planting to attract beneficial insects.

When asked what crops they are most excited to be growing this year, Kate says “Bitter greens. Radicchio and Dandelion are my favorite.” Adriana says, “I loved growing strawberries this year. I am also very excited to harvest dandelion root in the fall.” Adriana and Kate are sure to keep their mission in mind when selecting crops. With herbs they really wanted things that work well with food or as tea for ease of use. They chose tried and true varieties of vegetables and experimented with more medicinal greens such as bitters. Together, their goal is to walk the line between what is considered food and what is considered medicine, as they feel this approach is the most healing.

When considering the food system as a whole, Adriana and Kate would like to see a change in the way that food is bought and distributed. They believe whenever possible we should be sourcing food locally through a network of small farms, paying farmers the full value of their produce and labor and distributing it to folks who need it; Schools, Hospitals, Food Shelters, Senior Centers, Restaurants, Grocery Stores, and Processing Facilities. They agree with one another that there should be subsidies to offset the cost, so that farmers can make a living wage without having to buy into the “go big or go home mentality” and everyone can have access to wholesome nutrient dense food, regardless of income or access to these resources. Sustenance over Subsistence, they say.

Instagram: ThousandLeavesFarm