Wildwood Natural Farm has a new farm manager! After a year and a half of service from our gifted farmer Nick, Chris Palafox took over the reins. Together with his team of Wildwood students, and several staff that help out once a week, he is now in charge of growing produce for the Natural Food Market, diet kitchen at the lifestyle center, and student kitchen at the Center for Health Evangelism. So, why did he accept this position and what does a new farmer mean for our store customers? Let’s ask Chris!
1. Why did you accept the position as the new farm manager?
There was a need because the previous farm manager was leaving to work at another Adventist institution. I felt that God was calling me to accept challenge, and by God’s grace I took it. I always tell people to be willing to walk through doors the Lord has providentially opened.
2. What do you like about working on the farm?
I get a daily dose of health benefits according to the NEWSTART acronym (nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in God), which I am really excited about.
When it comes to nutrition, I know that my food is locally sourced and grown naturally. It also provides adequate nutrients. I did a test on our produce to check its quality and some came out as excellent.
Also, ever since I’ve been working on the farm my step count for each day has been over 10,000. But, anyone who has helped out on a farm knows that exercise does not just come from walking a lot. We are always bending, pulling, and lifting. Try to push a wheelbarrow across a field in the scourging heat of the sun in 90 degrees. You’ll get a workout in! This means that I have significantly upped my water intake, of course, since I am always sweating profusely. And then we haven’t even discussed the benefits of all that sunlight (vitamin D) and fresh air yet. Working on the farm is so healthy! I feel very blessed.
3. What produce are you growing currently and what will customers see in the store soon?
We are currently transitioning into growing fall and winter crops, which include kale, collards, carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, lettuce, okra, broccoli, and cauliflower.
4. What are your plans for the farm?
I want to continue to grow nutritious, healthy, and tasty produce and always improve in quality. Something that I have in the back of my mind is starting up a community supported agriculture system (CSA), where locals can buy shares of the harvest in advance. I would like to do this in the way we do colporteur work, but instead of selling people books we’d be selling produce. Especially in the times that we are living in, I believe that we should be modern day Josephs, preparing and storing up food for distribution so that we can share some with the community in case food supply in the area runs low.
I’m also thinking of adding tracts with recipes, health tips, or Spirit of Prophecy quotes to our produce that gets sold in our store. A farm and store can be such powerful ways to get to know our neighbors and possibly share the gospel with them without having a massive barrier up.