We welcome Will and Savannah Salley of Headwaters Market Garden, new vegetable producers on our Community Farm. Their operation focuses on growing seasonal mixed vegetables and culinary herbs. Will and Savannah recently returned to the Carolinas after living in Maui, Hawaii and are launching their new market garden business through participation in our Farmer Incubator Program.
“Right out of college I got a job selling fertilizer and consulting with farmers,” says Will. “I had about five years experience with mixed agricultural settings all throughout North and South Carolina. I enjoyed it, but I realized I’d rather be on the producer side. So I aspired to become a grower.”
“We knew what we wanted to do but not quite how to get there. We did a lot of research online to see what support exists in the state,” explains Will. “That’s how we came across WNC FarmLink [SAHC’s Farm Pathways partner]. When we met Chris Link and visited SAHC’s Community Farm, we were excited to learn about the Incubator Program.”
Our Farmer Incubator Program provides Will and Savannah with resources to make farming and agriculture their true lifestyle.
“It’s something we’d talked about for so long and it seemed impossible,” says Savannah. “This has allowed us to really make it a business, a lifestyle – to make it real. I’m excited for that adventure. It’s a new experience and I like that we can jump in full force and just be farmers.”
“There’s infrastructure here, and that’s really important because a lot of work and a lot of money goes into installing this type of infrastructure,” adds Will. “That definitely sets this program apart.”
Will and Savannah have the vision of a small, community-based operation for Headwaters Market Garden.
“We always hope to keep things small,” says Savannah “‘Taking Better Care of Less’ is a motto that we’ve incorporated into our business and also in our lives.”
“We want to focus on quality over quantity,” adds Will. “I’m looking forward to developing relationships with our customers in the community and sharing with them what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Our goal eventually is to create an integrated farming system where different aspects of that operation aid or support the others.”
The name Headwaters Market Garden is a mix of geography and metaphor. The stream that flows through the Community Farm is part of the headwaters of Newfound Creek in the French Broad River watershed. Will and Savannah also feel that the headwaters of a new agricultural movement exists here in the mountains — along with the headwaters of their journey together as farmers.
Thanks to a grant from The Community Foundation of WNC (CFWNC), we purchased a two-wheel BCS Tractor for the farm. We are grateful to CFWNC for supporting our Community Farm and Farmer Incubator Program with grants through its Food and Farming Focus Area. For more info, visit www.cfwnc.org.