Virginia Free Farm: Cultivating Food Justice

A desire to provide free, nutritious food to those in need keeps this farm growing for the good of the community.

Photo by Amyrose Foll

If you come to Virginia Free Farm at Spotted Pig Holler, you’ll find many of the typical features of an average American farm. You’ll see chickens pecking away, diligently fertilizing the grounds in preparation for subsequent growing seasons. Ducks and geese will be busily pulling every last weed they can get their bills on, while hard at work gifting the farm with a bounty of beautiful eggs. You’ll notice tangles of polyculture gardens mimicking the diversity of our natural ecosystems, and pigs oinking noisily at anyone who’ll listen, in hopes that a kindly visitor will share a morsel of food. It’s the Rockwellian pastoral landscape many envision when picturing a bucolic farm. What’s different about this farm, however, is that the food produced here is given away — all of it.

Founded by Amyrose Foll, Virginia Free Farm operates with a collectivist ethos that honors tribal values of responsibility to one another, the community, and the planet.
Photo by Amyrose Foll

Photo by Derek Foll 

Founding a Free Farm

What if I told you there’s a better way to farm? A way as old as the hills of the Piedmont; one that’s been all around us, waiting patiently like a seed for the right conditions to sprout.

Several years ago, I began to feel burned out from the farmers market scene and from delivering to restaurants and boutique grocery stores. Don’t get me wrong, I love that life, and I loved the people I grew for and fed, but as a single mother with three small boys, it was taking its toll on my well-being. It’s difficult enough for a family to live this life, and as a lone woman working the land, I had to be absolutely cast-iron to make it happen each day. It became clear to me that I needed a change. So, with some time and a successful commercial-sign business under my belt, as well as my new husband, Derek, by my side, I started in a new direction.

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