363: Stepheni Norton on Heirloom Small-Plot Urban Farming.

Finding healing through farming and growing healthy food.

Stepheni is a retired Chief Petty Officer and decorated military Veteran with almost 20 years of hands-on entrepreneurial experience.  She’s the co-owner and founding farmer of National City’s Dickinson Farm & Dickinson Larder. Her journey to heirloom farming began when she purchased the Wallace Dickinson House while she was deployed with the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Detachment.

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Stepheni designed the Dickinson Farm, the first licensed farm in National City since the 1900s.  She launched Farmacy, a curated CSA and anti-inflammatory meal prep service designed for caregivers and patients receiving on-going out-patient care as well as for individuals and families on specialty diets.  

In This Podcast:

Coming home from deployment is hard enough without adding a significant disease to the mix, yet this is what propelled Stepheni and her husband to make substantial changes in what they ate.  From there, they started growing their own healthier food on a portion of their new property and then started offering it to their community.  This developed into their farming business and CSA and more. It’s almost enough to make you want to move to her town so you can participate!

Listen in and learn about:

    • Having an unbelievable want list for her future property and finding almost all of it at the Dickinson’s Farm
    • Finding Lyme after her last deployment, and the extreme treatment her doctor put her on it
    • Having no access to fresh clean food
    • Being surprised at how abundant her gardens were
    • Getting medically retired
    • Changing focus from serving her country to serving her community
    • Finding similarities between being in the military and running her farm
    • Getting 1400 lbs of squash in one year
    • Growing food and still having negative reactions – testing for food sensitivities
    • Trying heirloom corn and having surprising results
    • Why she calls her farm an heirloom farm
    • Redefining what a traditional farm looks like
    • The Farmacy and coming to terms with what they could offer as a curative CSA
    • Locavore 8.8 dinners as a quarterly event
    • Connecting to her community
    • An emotional moment with a neighbor that really touched her
    • Setting up a farm-stand and getting everything set up for her CSA and all the deliveries

As well as:

Her failure – her inability to transition back home

Her success – The farm – taking all the negative and making her farm grow

Her drive – She gives her strength to the customers – giving them what they need

Her advice – Say YES, not I can’t or no

Stepheni’s Book recommendations:        


How to reach Stepheni:     

Website: Dickinson.farm

Greg’s recommendation on another podcast:

Sara Sanchez’s episode on Lyme Disease


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