If you haven't yet heard of Ground Floor Farm in Stuart, today is your lucky day. The more time we spend with the Ground Floor crew - Michael, Micah, and Jackie - the more we want to know about them and their multi-functional farm that combines everything close to our hearts: food, music, art, and community.
Q & A with Michael, Micah, and Jackie
For those people who don't yet know, what is Ground Floor Farm and how did it come to be?
Ground Floor Farm is a food and community space in Downtown Stuart. Founded in 2014 by three Stuart natives and childhood friends, we conceived the farm as a part of a hometown renaissance, in which individuals focus their energy and creativity on the places they come from. We are part (sub)urban farm, part experimental kitchen workshop, part arts and events venue, part banquet hall, part open-source community space. Our aim is to help grow a more dynamic town through food, art, and fun.
Can you tell us a little bit about the community programs, events, and workshops that take place at GFF?
We facilitate a range of public programming to serve the diverse needs of our local community, from family festivals to night markets to art events. We also create a variety of educational programming for both adults and children, building confidence and getting folks active in the kitchen and garden. We believe that a strong connection with our food and confidence in the kitchen is fundamental to a healthy and happy life, as well as a flourishing community. Our calendar is filled with events that range from Performance and Creativity workshops for middle-schoolers, to Sour Dough Bread Baking classes, to by donation yoga and Tong Ren healing offered by local teachers. We like to say that there's something for everyone here at the farm.
How many, and what types of crops are grown on the farm? Do you have a favorite?
Asking a farmer to choose a favorite crop is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child- everyone has their favorites, but we have to say we like them all the same. Between the three founders though we all have a little something that we look forward to. Micah loves the sharp bitterness of Italian chicory, Michael loves the sweet spiciness of baby turnips, and Jackie can't get enough of peppery arugula.
We’re growing food on a market garden plot smaller than 1 acre in size. We grow crops in the soil using intensive, sustainable, soil-building techniques, as well as hydroponically in vertical towers. On a tiny space like ours, every square foot matters. Our farm features crops where freshness is key: salad mixes, heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, and tropical fruits, among other things. No high-calorie storage crops here; we focus on growing good food where the short distance from farm to plate makes a real difference.
When and where can locals shop GFF goods?
Our growing season extends from September through about the end of May. We harvest and sell from October through May. You can find us at our Market @ Ground Floor Farm (100 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Stuart) 3p-7p on Weds in October through May. We've launched a pop up evening market where we're working with other local producers, artists, and musicians, to create a great local shopping experience. We also sell on Sundays at the Stuart Green Market (9a-1p) October through May.
We always see some sort of delicious kitchen workshop taking place at GFF. Who is the cook in the group? What are your specialties?
We all take turns at making farm grub for lunches and dinners, but Jackie is the craft food queen, and manages the craft food workshops. Michael teaches gardening-focused workshops, and Micah's emphasis is on kids kitchen basics, as well as teaching all ages about natural beauty DIYs.
What is your favorite part of the job?
There's so much that we love to do and are so grateful to be doing. We think the feedback from our local community (the kind words, sweet gestures, and enthusiasm) is the best part though. When we set out to start Ground Floor Farm, we wanted it to be a reflection of our love for the place that we're from, and really create a place where not only our talents can shine, but that we could create a space where other people feel they have the opportunity to contribute to their communities in a dynamic way.
When it comes to events, what sets GFF apart from other venues and rental locations in the area? What does the standard rental include?
Well the fact that we have a covered air conditioned venue that looks directly out onto a beautiful commercial farm in a downtown area is pretty unique...but honestly, it may sound cheesy, but most people say that they can feel the love and the time and energy we've poured into the space. It's simple, but elegant; clean and comfortable. We have worked hard to create a space that we enjoy, and we are so excited to share it with others.
Rental includes 15 60" rounds, 100 chairs, and gorgeous furniture on the terrace overlooking the farm. It also includes access to a commercial kitchen. The minimum amount of time for rental is 4 hours.
Can potential clients make an appointment to view the farm and rental space in person? What are your daily hours?
Absolutely! We love showing the space to people. You can drop by at the Wednesday market starting in October, or just email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. Because of the nature of the farm, we don't keep standard "office hours" but we are very flexible with scheduling appointments :)
What's coming for Ground Floor Farm in 2016? Anything new?
We've got a so much on tap! In December we're hosting a Make.Share.Do conference which we're launching as an information/knowledge/skill exchange- it's going to be amazing! Throughout the winter we've got a couple of galas planned with some local groups, and then in the Spring we're hosting our annual Spring Festival again- which features music, food, and lots of family activities on the farm. Already we've got a busy year lined up! We hope to see you there!
Finally, how do people find you?
Facebook: Ground Floor Farm
Address: 100 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Stuart FL