Story:

Eric is co-founder and owner of City Roots.  This 3.5-acre farm in South Carolina includes approximately 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, bees (not only for honey but for pollination), chickens (not only for eggs but for the fertility they add to the soil). The farm does extensive crop rotations, cover cropping, and composting for soil fertility and pest management. It produces microgreens year round, grows culinary mushrooms, and operates an aquaponic system which is the combination of aquaculture, the production of commercial fish (tilapia), and hydroponics.

Continuous Improvement:

“I strive to be innovative in our methods of growing food and conserving our precious natural resources while being as efficient and productive as possible on our farm.  We are currently enrolled in the EQIP program through NRCS and are using various techniques such as integrated pest management, cover cropping, composting, and micro-irrigation to conserve our resources.  We have just received a conservation innovation grant from the USDA to convert our farm to a no till system -- a method rarely ever used for vegetable production.”

How I’ve Told My Story:

“On my farm we have had over 2,500 students on tours, 3,000 self guided tours, 8,000 event attendees, 150 CSA members, 400 volunteers, 20 interns, and employ five people.   We have been in numerous TV spots, radio, print publications and periodicals.  I have been a speaker for TEDx Columbia, a lecturer for multiple courses at the University of South Carolina, SC Coalition for Organic Living conference, SC New and Beginning Farmers course, garden and rotary clubs and numerous other speaking engagements.”

Organizations:

Farm Bureau, SC Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher, USA Slow Food Delegate to Terra Madre - Turin Italy, Slow Food Columbia Board Member, Carolina Farm Stewards Association, National Young Farmers Coalition, USFRA Grow What You Know Rapid Response Team.