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June Farmer Member Profile: John Davis & Kimberly Koogler

At Georgia Organics, we love our farmers. Each month we’ll be showcasing our farmer members and the fabulous products they sell. This month we spoke to John Davis and Kimberly Koogler. John is the owner of Cosmos Farm in Carrollton, Ga. Kimberly is the CSA Manager and a vegetable farmer at Cosmos and the Farm to School Assistant here at Georgia Organics.

Cosmos grows a large variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and mushrooms on 6-7 cultivated acres. They have served farmers markets and restaurants in and around the Atlanta area for the last seven years.

John Davis, Owner

1. Why are you a farmer?

I love the purpose I feel in the work I do at the farm and I love to see the results of that work in such a tangible (and tasty) way. I feel like being a sustainable farmer and consumer of sustainably grown food, that we are doing something positive and healthy for our communities.

2. What do you sell?

We sell most vegetables that you can think of, shitake mushrooms, strawberries and eggs.

3. How has Georgia helped you and your farm?

Georgia Organics has helped me by providing great educational sessions at conferences and elsewhere.  They are also being a big help in our path to organic certification.

4. What do you think is a major issue facing farmers today?

I think the biggest issue facing farmers is the fact that the average American consumer has absolutely no idea what the real cost of food is or should be.  For almost a century now, farmers have had to rely on illegal immigrant, child, apprentice, and other forms of low cost labor, for the most part, in order to be able to survive and still barely make enough to have a livable income.  This is because people have been trained to think that food is and should be cheap.  This is a monumental but necessary challenge to face if we are going to have farmers be able to make a living farming in a way that is healthy and sustainable for our land and people.

5. If the world ended today and you had to choose only one vegetable or fruit to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Any salad greens (with radishes, green onions, and cilantro)! I eat salads every day, especially in the spring…

Kimberly Koogler, CSA Manager

1. Why are you a farmer?

  • I want to see our food system change for the better and farming is one real way I can participate in that change.
  • I am concerned about climate change, and want to be part of the movement to mitigate its impact.
  • I also want to eat well, and I get to do that as a vegetable farmer!
  • Last, I like being outside with my hands in the earth and I am fascinated by the plants and wildlife I get to see and interact with at work.

2. What do you sell?

As John said, we grow all kinds of vegetables, some herbs, some fruits, shiitake mushrooms, and raise laying hens. I don’t know that this is unique to our farm, but I think it’s special anyway. We can be found at five different farmers markets per week, have a CSA program, and sell some produce wholesale. If you live in Carrollton, Peachtree City, or Atlanta and surrounding areas, you have weekly access to our vegetables! We are really making it happen out here despite having just a little over 5 acres in cultivation and facing constant struggles. We all work really hard. John really knows how to efficiently run a business and somehow provides paychecks to everyone on the team at the end of every month no matter what’s going on.

3. How has Georgia helped you and your farm?

Georgia Organics has helped the farm by providing us with great educational and networking opportunities at the annual conference, helping us get through the Organic Certification application process, and providing many other benefits for the small price of being a member farm. I think it feels like we have a stronger support system because Georgia Organics exists and is constantly working to find ways to help Georgia farmers make it.

4. What do you think is a major issue facing farmers today?

I have to echo John on this one and say that the average American consumer seems to be very disconnected from the reality of what it takes, first financially, then physically and even emotionally, to get vegetables produced and to market. Good food, that is good for you and not bad for the earth, is not cheap to produce, so we can’t charge cheap prices for it. This is something I feel like shouting on a daily basis. I think if people really got it, they wouldn’t hesitate to pay the prices we ask.  I would even venture to say that, if more people understood the real long-term impacts of their food purchases on their own health, the health of the land we ALL depend on to have food, and the health of our local economies –  they might be more likely to sacrifice other luxuries to eat better food.

5. If the world ended today and you had to choose only one vegetable or fruit to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

5.) Sweet potatoes!

 

Come by one of the farmer markets at Grant Park, East Atlanta, Peachtree City, Westside, or Decatur and you won’t be disappointed. But if you can’t make it you can reach John by email: davisjap@gmail.com.  If you would like more  information about our CSA, please email: cosmoscsa@gmail.com.

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