Rand Gifford

Greenshire Farms

Madison County (1/4 acre + greenhouse)

Salad mix (kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, chard)







Rand grows many different greens to sell to TRACTOR for his salad mix, in addition to a few other crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and radishes for his family. He and his wife have a 9 month year old son, and moved to Marshall just a few months ago from Chicago. He finds the soil to be a bit more difficult here because the soil in the midwest is more fertile, but is excited about new learning experiences and building up more nutrients and microorganisms on his new land by using plenty of compost. Rand worked on a farm in California and this is when he really started to fall in love with farming. After working long days he felt like he accomplished something by being able eat the fruits of his labor. Rand and his wife WWOOFed (World wide opportunities on organic farms) around the country for 6 months together which is when they really learned a lot about farming practices. After WWOOFing, Rand worked on an urban farm in Chicago for a little bit before starting a farm of his own in his grandmother’s backyard, along with working another full time job. He had 16 raised beds on her property and began to sell produce to a farmers markets in Chicago as well as to some local chefs.

They knew they wanted to move to western North Carolina, and got a good deal with their current space in Marshall so things just fell into place. Rand says, “I feel very fortunate, it’s like a little microclimate, I’ve noticed it’ll be around 10 degrees cooler here than in Asheville which is great for the greens. We also get a lot of rain which is nice, so yea I really like it here.”

When asked his favorite part of the process, Rand mentioned that he just got a new seeder so he has a new found love for seeding, but mostly his favorite part is planning it all; the strategy and watching it all grow. They also have a dog named Rio, who helps keeps deer and other small animals away.

When asked why Rand pursued farming, he mentioned how he always wanted to do something meaningful. After college he worked in the corporate world shortly, and hated it. He did not see a purpose in what he was doing, and when he started to learn more about health, food systems, and downsides of mass production of food, farming seemed to be the only thing that made sense. He loves producing a good product that really nourishes people, saying, “when you eat good you feel good, its essential.” He loves that farming involves both mental and physical aspects, the need to be creative but also being outside and working in the dirt. He looked for places to farm all over the country but chose Burnsville because of the great community and local movements happening here as well as the plethora of outdoor activities.