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Soil, Conservation, and Place -- Janet Aardema and Dan Gagnon of Broadfork Farm



Authors as Published

Eric Bendfeldt, Community Viability Specialist, Virginia Cooperative Extension

This resource is available as a video only. 

Broadfork Farm

Broadfork Farm is a small diversified certified naturally grown vegetable farm owned by Janet Aardema and Dan Gagnon in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Their farm is an expression of their civic duty and environmental activism. In establishing Broadfork Farm, Janet and Dan spent time cultivating relationships in the community, sharing their agricultural, environmental and community values, continually building soil health, and refining their management and production system. Broadfork Farm utilizes only ecological methods in their growing practices: compost, cover crops, organic fertilizer, and minerals are used to feed the soil that feeds our plants. Janet and Dan use raised beds to prevent soil-compaction, which allows for happier plant roots and healthier growth. Certified Naturally Grown is a national standard and a third-party verified designation.

Introduction to Soil, Conservation, and Place

This educational project aims to deepen community understanding of the importance of agriculture and soils to a sense of place, community, and culture. The project highlights the distinct voices and diverse farms of Virginia’s agricultural community who are protecting and conserving soil and water resources through a narrative inquiry framework.  

The project is generously funded and supported by a community viability grant from Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education and the Agua Fund.

The project team includes Eric Bendfeldt, Mike Parrish, Kim Niewolny, Wade Thomason, and Maureen McGonagle from Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The project team especially wants to thank the participating farmers for sharing their time, experiences, and insights with us and the broader community.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

June 8, 2020