Lauren Virnoche started Ecotone Herbs in 2019 with six seasons of farming under her belt. Through the cultivation of plants, she hopes to support resilient communities – of the wild, the cultivated, and the human.
Lauren grows native plants, herbs, and vegetables, but what really makes her unique is the innovation with which she approaches her value-added products. Through the CSA program, you can sign up for a share to build your home apothecary, a tea share, or a fermentation share that includes a recipe to do it yourself. She’s also incorporated her background in bartending to create cocktail mixes for sale like the Goldenrod Rush, which uses lemon-balm honey and goldenrod tea from Ecotone. And if you’re interested in learning about herbalism and fermentation yourself, she hosts a variety of on-farm classes.
For the past five years, Lauren has had to make do with a variety of farmland rentals in northern Illinois that haven’t always turned out as well as she had hoped. While leasing can work well for certain types of farming, Ecotone Herbs depends on perennials, making it much harder for Lauren to contend with the insecurity and year-to-year changes that often accompany renting land.
So, Ecotone Herbs is searching for a new farm home. Ideally one with affordable and secure land tenure, whether in the form of a long-term lease, purchase, or partnership with another farm.
Lauren is looking for a property that fits these criteria:
A location within 30 miles of the Batavia Farmers Market
A spring 2024 move-in date
2-3 acres tillable land with the opportunity to expand acreage over time
Access to water and electricity
A mix of tillable and natural habitat
Long term lease with a minimum of 5 years
Other items on the wish list include:
Access to infrastructure (greenhouse, pack shed, barn, storage)
Access to shared farm equipment (tractor)
A kitchen or space to host workshops
Opportunity to expand acreage over time
Lauren has been searching for land throughout 2023 without finding the right farm. She needs a place to grow in 2024, so please help us spread the word! You can contact Lauren directly at email@example.com.
|A note from Lauren:
“Knowing how to grow food, to identify the plants that we share space with, and learning how to prepare them to support the health of my body’s systems have opened up my mind to more than I ever thought was possible for myself – this is an ongoing lesson in resiliency. And what is more pivotal to the experience of being a farmer than the ability to adapt to an ever-changing set of variables? I find this especially true as weather patterns become more extreme and less predictable. But still people need to eat. And still I feel the beat of my heart in my fingertips gathering Hawthorn this fall and through the heal of my foot into my fork digging up Burdock – and I know I’m still on the right path as Ecotone Herbs grows through the pains of taking new shape. Good flavor, food as medicine, and fostering mutual aid continue to fuel my fire. Though the way forward is unclear, I trust in what the land has taught me about myself and how I can be of service to my community.”