Behind the Scenes at a Georgia Farm

During Yahoo Y’All week, we’re celebrating the food culture of the American South. Expect profiles of cooks, makers, and bartenders, plus recipes showcasing the classics (and twists on those classics) you love. Today we’re spotlighting an artisan featured in the gorgeous book Southern MakersFood, Design, Craft, and other Scenes from the Tactile Lifeby photographer and writer Jennifer Causey.

One part CSA, one part farm, one part online vegetable retailer (really!), Full Moon Cooperative of Winterville, Georgia, is one of the smartest vegetable-and-fruit peddling operations around. It’s helmed by a Hawaii native (Iwalani Farfour) and a Californian (Jason Mann), but its output, such as the eggplants below, is distinctively, wonderfully Georgian. 


Former Californian Jason Mann wears many hats: biodynamic farmer, social and environmental entrepreneur, restaurateur, agro-ecological researcher, and community organizer. He is the founder of Full Moon Cooperative, which began in 2002 as a collective of sustainable fruit and vegetable farms. He started the co-op along with a group of farmers, ecologists, chefs, and educators in Athens, with the mission “to offer innovative farm-based solutions to social, environmental, and economic challenges.” They work in partnership with Moonshine Meats (also founded by Jason) to cultivate food throughout the Southeast.


Currently, Full Moon is operating as a small, independent farm. They sell their produce to local restaurants, and to the public through Athens Locally Grown (an online market), the Athens farmers’ market, and their CSA.


What do you enjoy most about working on a farm?

"I love watching a tiny seed grow into an edible, beautiful vegetable. I love being outdoors and being a part of the ever-changing landscape, noticing the light and the wind and the soil, how they are never the same and how each one affects the other. I love that I have tangible customers, and that I can see the smiles on their faces and the joy in their hearts from eating something I have grown."

What is the most satisfying part of physical farm work?

"Physical activity makes me happy and balanced. No matter how exhausted I am at the end of the day, I am always grateful to be healthy and strong and to know that with my own two hands I have moved the earth and created something beautiful."

* Questions answered by farm manager Iwalani Farfour

Photos and text excerpted with permission from Southern Makers: Food, Design, Craft, and other Scenes from the Tactile Life, by Jennifer Causey (Princeton Architectural Press, 2013). 

Check out the following to read about other Southern makers:
7 Questions with Chef Sean Brock
The Southern Company Inspired by a Hard-Living Grandpa
Vivian Howard Tackles the Veggie Burger on ‘A Chef’s Life’