Hello everyone! Thank you for supporting my project on Kickstarter. My name is Luke Girling and I'm a new generation organic farmer. I've recently leased out a 2.5 acre property in coastal Oceanside, San Diego, California and I need your help to get it off the ground!
"It is not the gardener that makes the garden. It is the garden that makes the gardener."
― Alan Chadwick
Cyclops Farms will be the only Certified Organic(GMO free) veggie farm in coastal North County, San Diego. We aim to sell high end, specialty produce to local restaurants, local grocery stores and Farmers markets. We seek to inspire creativity with food that we grow by not only growing the basics, but growing things that will keep people on their toes in the kitchen. Fresh food needs to be celebrated and here we are to be of service!
We never want to leave flowers out either! We plan on growing a wide variety of Organic flowers for cut flower arrangements at the farmers markets and table tops of local restaurants. When was the last time you saw a Certified Organic bouquet?! To keep up with the trends we will also have a wide variety of organic edible flowers.
After completing my farming education, I began managing a local vegetable production farm for two higher end restaurants. As my passion for farming grew, I felt that North county San Diego was lacking in locally grown organic food and farms. Since I grew up in Oceanside I really wanted to find a coastal plot of land to show our community that it could be done. In hopes of inspiring people to eat local, organic and to be a part of the process. I am excited to have a family run farm that will open peoples minds to the importance of where our food comes from. I found some plots around Oceanside but it was difficult to get people on board with the idea of having a farm on the property and to see how beneficial it could be. Until the day that I knocked on the house up front in the picture below! Within days I had the owner on the phone and within two months we had signed a two year lease agreement on 2.5 acres.
With the help of some friends, we rented a tractor and disc for a weekend and turned in the soil. currently the land sits barren, awaiting some love and food production. Recently, we were lucky enough to purchase a tractor and now that we have a good old tractor, we need help buying the appropriate implements so that production can be manageable. Since our soil type is sandy loam we really only need a disc and bed shaper, but they aren't that cheep.
The new disc will enable me to do a wide variety of jobs on the farm and will be the main tool for bed turn over, clean up and maintaining the farm. The bed shaper below will let me shape the beds in a timely manner after I've disced and turned a bed. Mechanical implements such as these will enable Cyclops Farms to produce vegetables on a consistent basis. Since labor will be limited to volunteers, my wife and I, these tools will be a must for success.
Further, KickStarter funds will go towards the Irrigation infrastructure, a fertilizer injection system, a shaded washing/packing station, an awesome seed order and the supplies needed to create a unique farmers market booth. If we get over our asking funds then we will invest in a proper greenhouse and propagation upgrades as well as a more detailed and broader seed order.
There is a need for young farmers such as us to become the next generation of food producers. A gap in farmers for several generations has created a situation that could lead to a failed and unrepairable food system. Most farmers are over the age of 60 and don't have many more years left in them. We as young farmers are here to pick up the torch and represent, support, and enlighten our local communities.
After the first year we plan on entertaining more ideas regarding education,outreach and the possibilities of a CSA. As we continue to grow as a farm we will get involved with local schools to facilitate visits and educational days with youth in the area. Our youth need to be educated and enlightened with the in's and out's of our existing food systems.
Please contact me with questions or concerns regarding rewards. If you would like to pledge but can't attend the rewards given, we will donate them in your name to the local homeless food shelter or local W.I.C. (women,infant,children) program.
Below are just a few photos of what I've grown this last year! Thank you so much for your help!
Risks and challenges
Risks that may arise for any farmer are always disease and pest related. I plan to integrate beneficial flowers and plants as attractants and repellents for pest control as well as live traps for those pesky rabbits and squirrels. Basic organic natural oils such as neem and Dr. Bronners peppermint soap will be my go to for preventative measures. Carefully choosing crop and seed varieties that are more resistant to certain bacterial and fungal diseases will also be an important asset to Cyclops Farms success. Something that I've taken away from my past year and half as a first time vegetable production manager is that loss is inevitable. I've been able to overcome the downside of loss by "pulling the plug" and moving on when necessary.
We've taken a professional approach on making sure permits, zoning, and paperwork are all completed and approved so we can march quickly forward. The exciting process of our organic certification is under way and we look forward to announcing our approval soon!
- (35 days)