Portrait Of A Sustainable Farmer : Kristin Carbone

This post in presented in collaboration with WOMEN WHO FARM
At Radix Farm, sustainability means treating the entire farm environment with care and respect. We grow four acres of diversified produce without the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Our natural growing methods and small-scale enables us to provide individual attention to the plants and nurture the soil. In addition, we strive to increase local food security and make nutritious food accessible to all members of the community.

Our Growing Practices

In 2013, Radix Farm became Certified Naturally Grown, which means we follow the national organic program standards and concentrate on building a healthy ecosystem.  We do not use synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and we don’t buy seeds produced by Monsanto or their subsidiaries.

We lease four acres from a larger farm that for many decades grew tobacco and now grows industrial corn and soybeans.  Decades of soil depletion presents a challenge to restoring healthy soils, but we are excited to be part of the few remaining farms in Upper Marlboro, and even more excited to be reclaiming some of that space with organic practices.  We plant buffers between our fields and the conventionally grown fields and differentiate all equipment that we use.  We welcome any questions you have about how we grow – farming practices should be transparent to the customer.

Other farming practices include:

  • Planting farmscapes of native flowering plants and utilizing companion planting to create habitat for beneficial insects
  • Our pest management strategy includes astute observation, hand picking, and minimal use of organically approved pest controls
  •  Planting cover crops, using crop rotation, and minimizing tractor work to maintain soil health
  • Unlike many other organic style farms, we do not use “throw away” plastic mulch for weed control.  That means more hand weeding and wheel hoeing, but we believe it’s worth the extra time and labor

Radix Farm’s long term goals include:

  • Providing healthy and delicious food for ourselves and our local community
  • Improving the quality of the land on which we farm
  • Preserving local farmland for sustainable agriculture
  • Increasing interest in farming while building community
  • Making a living farming

About the Farmer

Hi there, I’m Kristin Carbone, the owner and grower for Radix Farm.  I have been growing vegetables and herbs for the past twelve years in various capacities.  I started by gardening in my backyard in Arlington, VA while working as a community organizer and affordable housing advocate.  In 2004, I moved to Washington, DC and continued to grow  veggies at various community gardens.  I really enjoyed growing in urban centers and wanted to learn more, so I signed up for Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) and worked on small family farms in Spain. After that, I was hooked.  So in 2006, I changed my professional path and began working at Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD, where, for the next four years, I participated in every aspect of the vegetable production for a 285 member CSA. At Clagett Farm I gained invaluable experience and a foundation that enabled me to start and run my own CSA.

In 2009, in addition to my last year at Clagett, I worked for My Organic Garden in Washington, DC building and maintaining backyard vegetable gardens.  Also in 2009, I moved to Upper Marlboro to begin my own farming adventure (and finally adopted a dog!).  I spent my first year getting established and improving the soil on one acre.  In 2010, I went through the Beginning Farmer Training Program, spending one day a week at Calverts Gift Farm learning about the business of farming from successful family farmers, while also officially starting Radix Farm.  In 2013,  I became a trainer for the Beginning Farmer Training Program and beginning farmers now come to Radix for assistance in getting their own operations started.

Each year I am more and more excited to share my passion for growing food with the community while promoting healthy, seasonal, and local eating.

1 Comment

  1. Emma King
    February 27, 2016 at 11:15 am — Reply

    I love what you do and aspire to become more self sufficient. I have a small allotment here in the UK and am on my third year. I’m learning from scratch so all of these videos and information you guys are sharing is wonderful. Thank you again for sharing and inspiring x

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