A food entrepreneur widening the market for farmers and consumers
Across Georgia, entréeprenuers are opening avenues for farmers and consumers alike. This article is part of a series profiling these local heroes. Click here to see more.
Company: The Dirt Farmers
Founder: Joe Zawacki
Money Spent on Georgia Produce: ~$200,000/year
Joe Zawacki used to work as a sales rep for several major food distribution companies. That is, until he started seeing through the system.
One trip to a farm in California was particularly eye opening.
“I was on a tour and I reached down to grab a head of lettuce and the guy was like ‘no no no no no, do not eat that,’” recalled Zawacki.
Instead, they served lunch from a separate, private garden.
At that point, something had to be done. Zawacki started driving all over the state to get local, organic produce, as there was a dearth of options in middle Georgia. Suddenly, he realized he could combine his knowledge of food distribution with his desire to procure good food for himself and his family.
In 2013, The Dirt Farmers became official. Zawacki partnered with a few farmers and began distributing food out of the back of his hatchback. It took two years of doing both jobs while feeling like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde before he took the leap of faith and went full time in the good food business.
Now, The Dirt Farmers are fully operational thanks to an investor in Atlanta who believed in Zawicki’s vision of an all-encompassing CSA model that thrives on transparency. All of the approximately 175 items available for purchase are labeled by location and growing method. Their weekly newsletter is full of nutritional information about the produce, along with recipes so folks know how to cook what they’re buying. They’re also partnering with chefs to produce videos that show customers tips and tricks in the kitchen.
To top it off, Zawacki even started his own farm, The Dirt Farm, where he’s more than happy to let you bend down and pick something to eat straight out of the ground.