Updated: Oct 25, 2021
Deborah had heard speaker John Kempf at a conference say that if there were 2 million market gardens in the US, we can get off a Big Ag, California based food system. She wanted to be one of those 2 million farms.
After working at some CSA farms in the area, and hatching market garden schemes in her free time, Deborah Winicki finally found some land, some seeds, and some time, and started Mon Soleil Market Garden.
Initially the farm was in a backyard, and then it moved. And then it moved again- Finding farmland as a first generation farmer isn’t easy- she couldn’t buy land and give her farm permanence. One thing was constant however; she always had the sun with her wherever she grew, so her little business got the name Mon Soleil, French for “My Sun.”
And the brightness that her sun provided extended beyond the vegetables in the field. It reached into the community, which is why she chose to use the CSA model for getting her vegetables to consumers. She knows the favorite vegetables of her members that have been with her since the beginning. As she tends her greens she thinks about how her CSA member Amanda will be using them in her home. As she prepares her shares for pick up, the vegetables are carefully curated to make preparation of meals easy and attainable and includes recipes that highlight featured vegetables. She is growing for a collection of individuals- a community that she has helped create, and the warmth that her sun provides rubs off on these persons and families.
She always had the sun with her wherever she grew, so her little business got the name Mon Soleil, French for “My Sun"
Her sun keeps shining. Every year she lets her CSA members know that they can donate to help provide a CSA for a family that can’t afford it, and every year her CSA members do just that, so they can spread the warmth and fullness of this growing “market garden” farm.
Finally landing in Union on Buckley Highway a few years back, she gets the chance to keep growing. This year she is doubling her production and hopes that she will see an increase in SNAP/EBT recipients, as she is able to take this payment at her farm. She’s taking more volunteers and hiring another farm hand so that they can grow- and be fed- by the land. A fence is being put up to protect her plants, while respecting the natural wildlife that likes to visit. And above all, her heart and her mind continue to grow as she learns how to use organic, regenerative practices on her crops while respecting the earth, her community, and plants that make all this possible.
Find out more about Deborah her CSA, and her farm at monsoleilct.com