Chloe Johnson and Cam Terry have been friends and potluck/game night buddies for a handful of years now which has given us a front-row seat to their efforts to establish a business and community centered around ethical, local food. Last year, they took a big step on their dream when they started reclaiming a 3.5 acre urban farm space – we’re talking smack in the middle of a neighborhood – in partnership with the Agrarian Trust.
Their collaboration deepened in another way last year, too, when their child Kora joined the community. You’ll see her tucked against her dad’s bouncing body for the entirety of this conversation, amazingly enough.
Some key moments in our conversation:
- Chloe’s winding journey from Wales to Roanoke by way of England, Colorado, and Canada. She’s studied photography and human services, and worked with young people while paying her bills with restaurant work.
- Cam spent the earlier chunk of his life in the front range of Colorado where he studied film, which has given him a unique skillset as a farmer in terms of marketing and social media.
- Their dream of farming brought them to Roanoke, VA, where Cam started farming in Chloe’s parents’ back yard
- Though parenting was firmly off their radars in their 20s, meeting Roanoke’s local food community and witnessing the way kids were being raised in it eventually inspired them both. They now see Kora – 8 weeks old when we recorded – as their biggest teacher. For Chloe, Kora reveals her own opportunities for growth; for Cam, Kora has deepened his compassion for all humans, connecting him with the reality that they, too, were once babies.
- Lick Run Farm – the urban space where their business Garden Variety Harvests now operates – has challenged Cam to delegate and expand his vision of community inclusivity while also taking Chloe a step toward her dream of a tea-and-toast shop that would both provide affordable, alcohol-free options while providing young people a mentorship-rich first job.
- Their tool set starts with their village of friends and family and includes clear, direct communication between Chloe and Cam, shared values and a sense of humor about their differences.
- They highlighted the Agrarian Trust as their non-profit, an organization working to preserve farmland for future generations while making it accessible to young and under-represented farmers.