Radical Roots Farm
|Address:|| 3083 Flook Lane
Keezletown, VA 22832
Click to view hours
This farm does not have regular visiting hours.
Radical Roots Farm is a certified organic small family farm located in the Shenandoah Valley near Harrisonburg. They grow vegetables, as well as fruits, flowers, and herbs using regenerative practices. The farm is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Dave and Lee O’Neill. Foodwaze has visited the farm and compiled a detailed description of it under the Details tab.
• What They Do: Applying principles of regenerative organic agriculture and permaculture design, they grow a variety of vegetables throughout the entire year, using the fields on their property in combination with two hoop houses and a green house.
In addition to selling picked vegetables and herbs, the farm sells organic certified starter plants early in the season.
• Regenerative Practices: Radical Roots Farm is clearly committed to the principles of regenerative organic agriculture, which is evidenced by more than just their certification. They focus on preventing problems before they start by nurturing the soil and fostering biodiversity through permaculture design that includes perennial hedgerows.They rotate crops, use cover crops, make and use compost tea, use row covers to keep pests away, and use mulch film to keep weeds down without chemicals. They do not use any synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides or herbicides on the farm.
• Certifications: The farm is Certified Organic.
Radical Roots Farm manages a CSA, with pick-up locations in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and Fairfax. They also sell at farmers markets in Charlottesville and Fairfax, and through a number of other businesses in the area. Please click on the Places tab to find out where.
Dave and Lee O’Neill bought their property in 2003, and eventually built a house on it. The house uses solar energy and natural insulation to keep it at a steady temperature all year long without electricity. Their two young children, Isaiah and Miranda, help them on the farm, which includes keeping a few farm animals like pigs, geese, and ducks.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A visit to the farm and discussion with the farm owners/operators.
• The use of other research about the farm and its practices.
Radical Roots Farm is located in the Shenandoah Valley, on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains just northeast of Harrisonburg. The farm is owned by Dave and Lee O’Neill and operated with the help of their two young children and a small staff. They grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, flowers, and herbs on the sloping 5-acre property. The layout of their farm is a true testament to permaculture design, and their regenerative organic practices focus on developing rich soil and healthy, nutrient-dense food. Foodwaze has had a chance to visit the farm to learn first-hand what they do.
The O’Neills, who met at nearby James Madison University, bought the property in 2003 with a mission to grow high-quality organic food, to educate their community about sustainable agriculture, and to embody this mission in the way they live their lives. They keep about 3-acres of the property in production and lease another acre nearby. What’s so impressive about this farm is the way they finesse the natural undulations of the land to maximize productivity.
They use a greenhouse and two large high tunnels to get a jump on the growing season. From there, snaking along the property are their growing fields, displaying a wide variety of vegetables that they carefully plot out to meet the demands of their customers. Due to the slope of the land, they have built berms for water catchment. And perennial hedgerows, consisting of fruit and nut trees as well as legume plants, help enhance biodiversity and provide habitat for beneficial insects.
As an organic certified farm, chemical pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers are prohibited. In their place, the farm uses natural, organic practices such as cover cropping, crop rotations, row covers, and mulch film. All these practices together help keep pests and weeds under control, while building soil health - the essence of regenerative organic agriculture. Further soil enhancement is achieved through natural fertilizers like compost tea and seaweed emulsion.
Watering is done through a mix of drip and overhead irrigation, depending on the type of plant, and each is performed with a focus on water conservation. Water is tested regularly in compliance with their organic certification, and it is taken either from well on the property, a catchment cistern, or a small pond. The pond itself is a further testament to biodiversity in attracting birds and amphibians.
The house the O’Neills built on the property is a further manifestation of their mission. It uses passive solar design which enables them to keep it at a steady temperature all year long without using electricity. They named their farm after the term “radicle” which is the first part of the seedling to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. It’s this sense of sprouting that seems to pervade much of what they do. In addition to growing food, they give frequent tours of their farm and conduct workshops to help inform and educate others.
Radical Roots products are available to consumers in a variety of ways. The farm manages a CSA, with pick-up locations in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and Fairfax. They also sell at farmers markets in Charlottesville and Fairfax, and through a number of other businesses in the area. Please click on the Places tab to find out where.