Open Ridge Farm is husband and wife team, Jonathan ("Jona") Felts and Gretchen Ferrell, with day labor and entertainment provided by our daughter, Opal. Our farm is 3.5 acres along Rock Creek, watershed of Mt. Mitchell, in the South Toe Area of Yancey County, consisting of a young fruit and nut orchard, market gardens, and certified Farm Kitchen with dining space.
We have both been involved in permaculture and local food activism and education since before we joined forces in Costa Rica in 2003.
Locally, we have been involved with Dig In! Community Garden, the Yancey County Farmer's Market, we coordinate the school garden at South Toe Elementary.
The short story is that we practice organic, "no-till" agriculture. We aim to grow nutrient rich soil, which yields nutrient rich food for our community. We never apply synthetic chemicals or fertilizers.
The slightly longer version is that we came to farming with a permaculture background, but found that production agriculture didn't seem to have much precent for incorporating so many tenants of what we knew as good practice (mulching, intercropping, etc). Using the methods small scale farmers were following at the time created more questions than answers in 2013. After a couple of years following what seemed to be normal efficiency-oriented market gardening practices, we decided to instead follow our hearts. We stopped tilling and started mulching, and our plants are showing their gratitude. We are constantly learning and adapting, and aim to make all decisions rooted in health: of soil, ecosystems, climate, as well as our bodies and yours. Fortunately, those things all work together. Isn't it magical?