It is no secret that I have a farmer crush, not on one specific farmer, but on farmers in general. I admire their open-heartedness, generosity, hard work and joy. This weekend I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon at Springdale Farm and was reminded of the first time I met Paula and Glenn Foore and how they charmed my socks off with their contagious happiness and passion for farming and helping others.
The ironic thing is that the Foores became farmers quite by accident. They originally bought the almost four acre property in a sleepy East Austin neighborhood twenty years ago to house the inventory for their landscaping business. When the business slowed during the recent recession, they worried about keeping their devoted crew, many of whom had been with the company more than 15 years, busy over the winter. Paula explains, “We were just trying to come up with a morale boosting thing to do and decided to plant a garden. We could at least feed us and our crew.”
Paula, who previously served as bookkeeper and primarily shuttle service for their busy teenage daughters, was surprised when she started to fall in love with gardening, nurturing seeds to fruition. Glenn grew up on a farm and was a horticulture major in college, but Paula finally caught the bug when they started growing crops instead of landscape plants.
“Glenn and I laughed as we were sitting around the other night having a glass of wine and realized that we were just talking a mile a minute about what we wanted to do next, plant next and what seeds we wanted to order next,” Paula muses. “We just have this passion that grew from that first little front plot.”
The Foores have generously shared that passion with the local food community, often hosting special dinners and events at the farm. Seldom a week goes by without a celebration of one sort or the other with picnic tables set up under the pecan trees, live music playing in the corner and guests sharing in the joy of the farm and its bounty. By hosting these events they have introduced many new people to Austin’s urban farms and local food.
And they are still plotting and planning about ways to grow the farm and give back. Most recently, they’ve toyed with the idea of planting crops outside of the fence so that anyone in need can pick fresh produce. “We meet so many people and, of course, farmers are never at the top of the big donor list, so we have to figure out what we can do to give back in the best way that we can,” Paula explains. “That’s why Glenn and I had fun planning the project outside of the fence. What can we do outside the fence?”
It’s rare to find a couple so focused on others as they grow their young farm. We are truly blessed to have the Foores, Springdale Farm and their outside the fence thinking.
You can join the Foores and supporters from the local food community at an upcoming benefit for Colleen Sommers of Pie Fixes Everything on Thursday, June 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
You can also visit Springdale Farm at their farm stand, Wednesdays and Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, at 755 Springdale Rd.