Children are often asked what they want to do when they grow up.
This question weighed on Bobby Jones and Chelsea Losh as they approached graduation from Georgia College and State University. Losh was one of the university’s top English literature scholars and Jones was a liberal studies student with a non-profit management minor. Both became involved in the Environmental Science Club during their time at college, and the couple wanted to act on this mutual passion.
Ultimately, they decided the best way to effect change was to give sustainable agriculture a shot. Originally, Jones and Losh planned to spend time working on various farms in the WOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program. However, this idea was quickly derailed when Roundright Farm in West Virginia called and offered them full-time farm assistantships. The catch was that the couple had to start work in a few short weeks. The opportunity seemed too perfect to pass up, and within a few days Jones and Losh packed up and moved to West Virginia to begin their new life as farmers.
“We didn’t grow up on farms or have access to anything like a farm as kids,” Jones said, “I think that a lot of people our age who are doing what we are doing just kind of accidentally fall into this career. It’s exhausting when you’re learning, and sometimes you wonder how you ended up doing this. But then you leave the farm and you realize how much you miss it. You’re addicted.”
The two dove headfirst into the world of agriculture. Between the two of them they’ve worked on 10 different farms throughout the South. On top of intensive physical farm training, Losh and Jones both studied sustainable agriculture at Central Carolina Community College. After several years of education and exhaustive training, Jones and Losh felt that it was time to start their own project.
A great literary figure provided inspiration for the young academics’ new venture. William Henry Channing’s words perfectly frame the couple’s motivation in creating Babe and Sage Farm:
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”
With inspiring words in mind, hands familiar with the land, and fresh excitement, Babe and Sage Farm fought through its first year. Losh and Jones took charge of 30 acres of the 300-acre Oetter Family Farm, in Gordon, Ga. Within one year, the couple produced enough to support a 30-member, three-season CSA, and they sold at both the Mulberry Street Farmers Market and the new Fall Line Farmers Market in Milledgeville.
Jones all but bursts with excitement when he describes the future plans of Babe and Sage Farm. “We put in an order yesterday for 80 laying hens. After we did that I just sat there in disbelief that we just ordered that many crazy chickens. But there’s a reason we do this. Actually, there are a million reasons. Some of them are purely self-serving in that we love the physical exercise and the food. We get to have the best food available anywhere, on a daily basis.”
Losh loves working with kids and hopes to move the farm toward an educational model. Jones is a driven land-conservationist, and the importance of stewardship is his perpetual meditation. The Babe and Sage farmers also carry a deeply rooted love for their community in Georgia.
A few short years ago, Chelsea Losh and Bobby Jones knew what they cared about but, like many college graduates, were unsure of what they could do. Looking back, Jones challenges others: “There’s only so much you can read and so much advice you can get before you have to plunge in and just do it.” Losh and Jones took that leap and discovered their potential. They now know what they can do—these young Georgians can farm.
The Babe and Sage farmers are at the Fall Line Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or at the Mulberry Street Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
If you are interested in learning what it takes to become a farmer, Babe and Sage Farm loves volunteers. For more information, check out their website.