| Jessie Ammons
Tim and Carrie Martin are the farm entrepreneurs behind Foot Prints in the Garden. On 85 acres near Mt. Olive, about an hour southeast of Raleigh, they grow seasonal specialty greens, root crops (including radishes and fingerling sweet potatoes), and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Here, Carrie tells us more about their farming tradition and legacy.
Both Tim and Carrie were always gardeners, thanks to upbringings rooted in the earth. "Our family has always been connected to agriculture," Carrie says. "Foot Prints in the Garden is a collaborative effort of four family farms. Two of the family farms have been owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years." Tim's parents and uncles were tobacco farmers on that land, and it stayed in the family while he spent two decades serving in the U.S. Army and working at a career in federal correction. Meanwhile, Carrie spent decades working in mental health and education. When the two hit a crossroads, they went back to where they came from. "As my husband and I started to explore second careers, it felt natural that we give agriculture a try full-time."
Foot Prints in the Garden uses environmentally sustainable practices; and their principles are sustainable on a broader level, too. "What makes this worth it to us is seeing the fruits of our labor," Carrie says, "and showing the youth of our family how to preserve the institution of farming, [both its] infrastructure and natural resources."
Carrie's favorite thing to plant is watermelon radishes – their vibrant colors and crunchy bite are hard to beat. And the crop that's tricky but worth every bit of hassle? "Watermelon." Summer CSA members can attest to that!
While Foot Prints in the Garden's traditional start and pay-it-forward intent might seem like enough, that's not what matters most to the Martins. "We do this because it is important to us that we try to make a dent in providing our community and the surrounding area with healthy, fresh food," Carrie says. "We also think it's important to improve the quality of life for our family, the families we serve, and our community."