DEW POINT FARM IS a tiny little place — a microfarm or a pocket farm, or, if you prefer, a farmlet — in Columbus, Georgia. Some might argue it’s actually just a big garden. In all, it’s about .06 acres and encompasses three small fields. We grow food primarily for farmers markets with a particular eye to getting our vegetables on the plates of people who struggle to access fresh food for economic or geographic reasons.
Where is it?
In MidTown Columbus. Specifically, it’s in the East Highlands neighborhood, just outside of the Weracoba-St. Elmo historic district. For locals trying to place it, we’re a few blocks from Hannan Elementary and Buck Ice & Coal Co. Unlike Buck Ice, though, our product is touched by human hands.
What do you grow?
Staple market-garden crops: tomatoes, peppers, turnips, collards, carrots, beets, eggplant, green beans, snow peas, sweet potatoes, and the like. We dabble with dried beans, fennel, herbs for tea, and other crops as the mood strikes and space permits. We like root vegetables because they’re very shelf stable.
Why is shelf-stable important?
Aside from just liking farming, we built Dew Point for two reasons: First, the city (the county! the country!) needs more growers; even farmers will tell you that. Second, we are trying to combat food insecurity in various pockets of Columbus. Among the people we hope will buy our produce are folks who may not have consistent access to refrigerators. For them to consider buying fresh food, that food must be shelf-stable. We want much of our produce to be able to sit at room temperature for a few days, until they have a chance to cook it.
Can I buy the food you grow?
Yes and please! We primarily sell at The Food Mill, in Columbus, whose mission closely aligns with ours. It’s open to everyone, but also allows SNAP or food-stamp customers to double their buying power. But full-price customers are not taking food away from others who need it. There’s plenty to go around. You can buy our fresh produce straight from the shelves, but grabbing lunch from them often means you’re getting our stuff too. (They make darn good food.)
Are you an organic farm?
At Dew Point, we grow our food naturally, following organic practices, but without the expensive and laborious USDA organic certification. Put simply, we are too small to justify the cost (in money and time) to seek organic certification. But there are no artificial chemicals used to fertilize our produce, and we use only organic-approved pesticides and fungicides.
Can I take a tour?
Sure. We're there almost daily during the growing season, though usually very early in the morning. Drop us a line at email@example.com and we're happy to set up a time to show you around. We also hope to do annual open-house “farm days” for the neighborhood, with a cookout or somesuch in the near future. We also hope to work out field trips for small classes with area schools, but a lack of both parking and bathrooms are two big challenges there. Stay tuned.
Do you have goats and pigs and chickens and junk?
Nope, it’s just too small a space. Also, animals require a level of attention that’s over and above what even finicky crops demand. Oh, and they’re troublemakers that rightly don’t like being penned in and inevitably find a way out. The farm’s neighbors have chickens, though, so it sounds like a storybook farm. The neighbors are also beekeepers whose little flying friends help pollinate our crops.
How did you find the land?
This may have been the hardest bit, since we were after something that was (a) in the city, (b) not far from our home, and (c) cheap. We spent over 10 years searching before folks at the city of Columbus's Land Bank finally pointed us to the space we bought. And more than that, they were able to evaluate our potential use of the land as a community service and, as a result, were able to use grant funding to reduce the cost of the property enough to make it do-able with an income potential that could kindly be described as "modest." We're big fans of the Land Bank Authority. If you're looking for a property -- a home in need of TLC or a lot to turn into something cool -- check out their web page.
Do you need help?
From time to time we love to have volunteers help us stay ahead of the weeds. Keep an eye on the website or our Facebook page for the whens and wheres.
Is this a community garden?
It’s not. This is a private farm, and we discourage you from harvesting the food from Dew Point Farm. We don’t make a living wage doing this; it’s a passion project. We only aspire to earn enough to pay the bills and then maybe a bit more to compensate us for our time. Operating it as a private farm gives us more incentive to make it successful and to push our yields. The lack of that incentive is why many community gardens wither after just a season or two.