Vanessa Campbell and Alex Brown have a passion for growing fresh, healthy produce. They enjoy being outdoors, and bring that joy to their farming endeavors at Full Sun Farm. Looking toward the future, they wanted to ensure that the land would continue to be available for farming for future generations. This year they donated a conservation easement on 32 acres of their farm in the Sandy Mush Community of Buncombe County, and plan to work with SAHC to protect the remainder of the farm as well.
Farmers and owners of Full Sun Farm, Vanessa Campbell and Alex Brown donated a conservation easement on 32 acres of their farm because they have a passion for farmland preservation and a deep appreciation for the Sandy Mush community. “I really love being outside and being able to work while doing so,” says Vanessa. “This place is a home as well as how we make our living — it’s a place of refuge and beauty. We wanted to preserve the openness of Sandy Mush and help maintain the beauty of the valley.”
The conserved acreage includes about 11 acres of woods and 14 acres of hay fields and pasture, with a remaining area of prime soils along the creek. This conservation easement is stage one of a two-part project, and Alex and Vanessa plan to continue working with SAHC to protect the rest of the farm. Full Sun Farm produces a variety of fresh produce and cut flowers, sold directly to consumers through CSA (community supported agriculture) shares and at local markets. “We hope that when we’re gone, whether our kids decide to farm or not, this land will be available for someone to farm,” continues Vanessa. The couple recognize the importance of protecting farmland now for future generations, especially since farm production requires larger tracts of land in order to be economically successful.
“If this farm gets split up, it would not be big enough to be viable,” explains Vanessa. “Some of our soils are prime soils, and that is very important. In many places, prime soils are being built on and lost for agricultural use. In other areas, like out west, soils are becoming degraded. We are concerned about the impacts from climate change, and it’s good to know that in preserving this land, future generations will be able to grow healthy food here for a long time to come. It will be a resource for the region, for farmers to be able to farm without turning to soils that have been depleted.”
The couple have two daughters who appreciate the quality of fresh-picked farm produce, but who may not necessarily be interested in following in their footsteps. Either way, Vanessa and Alex feel good about preserving the land for future
The project was made possible with the assistance of private donations and a grant from Buncombe County to cover transaction costs for the fully donated conservation easement. “This easement fits neatly between existing conserved farmland in Sandy Mush,” says Farmland Program Director Jess Laggis. “The property’s road frontage, prime soils, and water resources make it ideal for agricultural production. It also adds to the scenic beauty along Bald Creek Road and lies on the Farm Heritage Trail, which is beloved by cyclists and motorists.”
Support Your Local Farmers!
Find Full Sun Farm at the North Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market, or visit their farm store online at FullSunFarm.com.
Landowner Perspective: Vanessa Campbell and Alex Brown
“For the health of our soil, ourselves, our customers and our community, we grow using organic methods. Our focus is growing beautiful flowers and a lot of different kinds of tasty, beautiful vegetables for sale at farmer’s markets. We are so grateful to have a chance to farm and live here and take care of this place. And, we are even more grateful to have it protected in perpetuity. Sandy Mush is such an amazing jewel of a place, and we love being part of the community. We’ve been out here since 1997, and had grown on rented land a few years before that. We love being outside and just being able to grow vegetables, sow seed, watch the plants grow and come up with produce at the end — it’s just very rewarding, interesting, exciting, and challenging work, even after 20 years!”