Located in the rolling hills of the Georgia Piedmont, Little Bit Farm is a 280 acre sustainable family farm. The property, originally part of the Billingslea Plantation, was acquired by our family in 1970. The original plantation house (circa 1835) and family cemetery are located on a portion of the property owned by other family members.
Lisa and Brad acquired a portion of the farm in the summer of 2001 and started an on-going process of restoring the land. Initial projects included creation of pastures, stabilization of erosion issues, construction of roads, house and barns and acquisition of adjacent parcels.
Initially, the property had no open areas or pastures. Throughout the years, we have selectively thinned and cleared the planted pines on the farm. An annual prescribed burn program is used to clear ground debris and control re-growth of unwanted species. With the encouragement of Dr. John Kush (Auburn University: Long Lead Dynamics Lab) we have allowed the native grasses to regenerate without introduction of exotic forages.
The farm garden was first established in 2005. The preliminary layout utilized raised beds within a 1/2 acre area protected by a 8' deer fence. With production well in excess of our personal consumption, we instituted sales to individuals and restaurants in 2009.
The growing demand for locally grown chemical free produce lead to an expansion of the garden in 2012, when the first area for drip-irrigated row crops was added to the initial raised bed installation.
2014 was a big year for the farm. We fenced in and irrigated just under an acre of 100' vegetable rows, built a heated greenhouse and an irrigated high tunnel, and dug an additional well. We also completed our farm inspection and are now proudly Certified Naturally Grown! All of this expansion allowed us to produce more great food for our restaurant and market customers.
Mary-Martin and Ian lease the land and run Little Bit Farm together.
Mary-Martin is from Columbus originally but moved to Utah after college where she met Ian. They moved back to Columbus a few months ago hoping to start their own farm. Thankfully, we connected and they are now here at Little Bit!
Ian attended college at the University of Oregon, where he studied environmental science. During this time he worked on several urban farms and got a feel for exactly what it takes to grow your own food. With his knowledge and skill set, we will be able to maintain our sustainable farm, keeping our daily work good for both us (as consumers) and this beautiful earth.
As for Mary-Martin, it all started with food. She grew a passion for cooking, which made her question the food we as consumers buy. Alongside her love for fresh local produce, is her love for the earth. After learning more and more about the negative effects of industrial farming, she began to grow her own food. This sparked her journey over the past few years, eventually leading to an epiphany - she was meant to be a farmer!
On top of all the expanded infrastructure and labor to support our fruit and vegetables, we also acquired and set up accommodations for our heritage breed hog brood stock. These animals are pasture raised and fed; we expect to add meat to our offered products sometime in 2016.