Turning a Dream Into an Agriculture Venture

Buena Vista, GA

With a number of businesses being shut down and the supply chain being disrupted, nearly everyone’s way of life has been altered by the pandemic. And that’s certainly the case for the owners of Blackbird Farm, as they traded in the hustle and bustle of city life for a long-time dream.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were living in metro Atlanta and had been exploring opportunities and ways to possibly get some land of our own, move out. We knew that we wanted to be growers. We knew that we wanted to be invested in agriculture and the state of Georgia. We didn’t know what that looked like. So, we were exploring a couple of different opportunities,” says Charity Ravn with Blackbird Farm.

As for what they settled on, that inspiration came from a duck pond they managed in the back yard of their suburban home.

“So, I started using plants to help filter the water. And I was realizing these plants were doing great growing in the water. So, I was looking on the internet about things, reading stuff. Aquaponics popped up. I thought, ‘wow, that’s really cool.’ I started doing some research and I came to Charity, and I said, ‘I got an idea.’ And it may be crazy but, it’s something unusual. It’s something different,”says Jeff Clark with Blackbird Farm.

From there, they jumped in feet first, putting not only their money, but also spare time into making it a success.

“For the most part it was me down here by myself for three, four months putting a lot of bolts and screws and drilling holes in concrete and everything else. The first thing I always tell people is I built this myself. I mean, because it was so much work. And having done that and feeling like it was going to kill me at the time, having it done and being able to actually grow things and see these beautiful plants we can produce has been very rewarding,” says Clark.

That feeling extends to their efforts in the community, where they hope to provide a fresh and nutritious option to this underserved population.

“Having a local source of produce. That allows us to give food back to our community through sells or donations or whatever that looks like. And so, it creates a local outlet for things that people don’t have around here,” says Clark.

Thanks to the closed system and controlled environment hydroponic growing offers, this produce is literally available any time of year.

“We grow 365. So, that’s one of the benefits of the greenhouse is that we can grow all year long. When we’re thinking about produce being in season, agriculture being in season, our season is three hundred and sixty-five,” says Ravn.

While that is an advantage, it is also a huge responsibility, as there is no off season. However, it’s a way of life they wouldn’t have any other way.

“There’s a lot that we have to take care of. There’s a lot that we have to manage. And being involved in every step of the way with that, is so exciting because I’m learning so many different things about plants, but even just so many different ways about how we get that harvest to people. Interacting with the community, I think, is my favorite part,” says Ravn.

By: Damon Jones