In honor of Earth Day and our DHG IMPACT month recognizing sustainability, Amy Bishop of Greenbrier Farms joins us to talk about what sustainability means to her. Greenbrier Farms is a family-owned, organic farm that provides clean, quality food to the broader Greenville, SC community.
AGH: Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of our DHG podcast series. I’m Alice Grey Harrison, your host, and I love this venue because we get to hear the things that matter the most to us - careers, people and flexibility.
Today, I am super excited about my guest. I have Amy Bishop with me. Amy, her husband Chad, and Roddy Pick own an organic farm just outside of Greenville. I’ve had the opportunity to visit on several occasions. Last year I purchased plants for my little container garden there and I’ve enjoyed a progressive dinner there where chefs from all over Greenville came and prepared different tastings using products from the farm. I’ve also been to the farm with my daughter to what they call their Weekly Porch Series, which is really laid back and fun. They have music, food, and kids everywhere, it's really fun. They do that when the weather is nice from April until later in the fall. This farm is so cool, they have beautiful rolling hills and an amazing barn that they can host events in. It’s complete with a porch and rocking chairs that overlook this beautiful lake. Such an amazing setting. We also use Greenbrier Farms for catering in our DHG Greenville office to bring healthy meals into the office.
In celebration of our DHG IMPACT sustainability month to recognize Earth Day, Amy agreed to discuss sustainability with us today. Welcome, Amy.
AB: Thank you for having me.
AGH: Sustainability is a really broad term that means different things to different people. Why don’t we begin by having you tell us what sustainability means to you?
AB: Well, sustainability is the act of being sustained. It literally means to nourish and give support or relief. The way to do that is to use resources that don’t deplete or permanently damage. How that relates to our farm is that our farm operates with three different entities - we grow organic produce, we raise pastured pork and beef that's grass-fed, and we have our events which you mentioned earlier. We try to use all of the aspects of the farm to work together but everything really starts from the inside out.
The importance of soil is monumental here at the farm. Having good soil provides grasses and legumes, which our animals graze on and thrive on, we then sell these animals for meat to our clients who are looking for local, healthy options to incorporate in their daily diet. The soil also grows our vegetables, and we use our leftover vegetables to feed our animals.
Working together is really the reason for sustainability, not only from a conservation standpoint and environmental standpoint, but also because we are such a small farm, it’s so important to work smarter and not harder. Using sustainable agricultural methods are pivotal in that.
AGH: Very interesting. I have a true fact here. I took several conservation classes in college, so a lot of what you said is coming back to me. I think I took conservation biology and environmental philosophy in college. It wasn’t that big of a thing like it is now. I really just took them to avoid the hard stuff like organic chemistry, but as you were talking, it’s coming back to me.
Tell us a little more about Greenbrier Farms and other ways you’re supporting sustainability in our overall food system?
AB: Well, in terms of the ads of our products themselves, obviously, starting on our land security there and then you know, we share that through a lot of different methods.
We only work on a local level, so we can get our products direct to consumers. Customers can call us and get to know the products from the farm, we also participate in a local farmer’s market and we have the stuff that we grow on the farm through our off-site catering.
In addition to that, we are providing our products to our community and we do make a conscious effort to keep it local in supporting our food systems here in our community. It’s also helping us to have less of an environmental footprint - shipping a long ways away, that kind of thing. We really utilize what we have here, to the people that are here, if that makes sense.
AB: One other way is that we also have a restaurant in Greenville called Fork and Plow and they serve a ton of our products as well as products from other local farms. So we are trying our best to diversify how you can get our products and those are the ways that have worked for us.
AGH: That’s awesome. So, when I think about food and sustainability, are there certain types of foods that are more sustainable than others? If so, what are they so we can move in that direction?
AB: The really simple answer to that is sustainable food is always going to be seasonal food. You know when you are eating in season, you know that you are eating on a somewhat local level and it is just an easy way to do your part for your family. Not only that, but the food typically is more cost effective because it is in season and you are not growing something that isn’t in season. It's healthier for you and typically it tastes better because it is fresher.
AB: It is a win-win and it is just an easy thing that anybody can do. If you ever have questions on what’s in season and what is not in season, you can easily just look up fall and spring plants, they’re usually one and the same, and then summer plants. And in the winter time, you are looking at fall plants that have been conserved and preserved or even summer stuff that has been preserved, such as canned tomatoes and kale vinegars, things of that nature, when you know it is not growing season. Our growing season is May through November.
AGH: I just knew you were going to say eat more kale. So I am glad to hear that there is more variety there.
AB: Yeah, it’s variety. It really and truly is. If you eat seasonally, you are eating sustainably, and it keeps you from getting bored.
AGH: Yes, perfect. So one last question for you. As an individual, what can I do to make a difference regarding sustainability?
AB: Well, there is a lot that you can do. You can figure out ways to maintain yourself, your family, your house, and your garden. If you take the measures to take care of yourself from the inside out, typically that is going to help in the long run, if that makes sense.
AGH: Absolutely, yeah. So if somebody is listening and they want to learn more about Greenbrier Farms, are you guys on Instagram and Facebook? Do you have a website? How do they find you?
AB: Yes we are on Instagram under Greenbrier Farms and Greenbrier Farms itself with an ER not AR. We are also on Facebook and Twitter and our website is greenbrierfarms.com. And you can always give us a call. We are always here, whether we like it or not, but we kind of like it.
AGH: That is great, Amy. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate you sharing insight on sustainability with us.
AB: Thank you. And I love that you guys are doing programs like this for your employees. It is great that you guys are taking the time to think about these kinds of things. So we appreciate you all.
AGH: Absolutely. And as a reminder, Earth Day is April 22nd. Don’t forget to celebrate and love our mother earth. Thank you all for listening to Life at DHG, our premier podcast series. If you like what you just heard, we hope you’ll tell your friends and colleagues. Be sure to check out our DHG blog for more great stories about our Life Beyond Numbers.
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