For Molly and Craig Stotts the beginning of spring is a busy, but exciting time.
Spring is when the couple, who owns My Father’s Garden, a small family farm on Rowland Avenue, begins planting a large portion of the crops they will be growing for the season. Their 3.2-acre farm supplies them with enough organic vegetables to feed themselves, their family and sell at the Winchester-Clark County Farmers Market.
It’s hard work, but the 66-year-olds do it with smiles.
“The Scripture says to stay at home, work with your hands and lead a quiet life,” Molly said. “I’m not doing that, but I’m doing the best I can. Hands in the dirt is where we’re supposed to be.”
The two have been gardening together since they bought their Rowland Avenue property in 1977. Molly said being from town, neither of them had much farming experience when they began.
“That’s where the name My Father’s Garden comes from,” Molly said. “Both my earthly father and my heavenly father instilled in me a love of gardening.”
As they became more involved in growing, they tried many times to acquire a larger piece of land, but they always wound up deciding against it.
“The Lord kept us here,” Molly said. “This was a great place to raise our kids because if you step into the front yard you’re in the city, and if you go out back you’re in the country.”
So they decided to stay put and raise their seven children where they were, and after 40 years, the Stottses have made the most out of their small farm, growing a variety of vegetables, fruits and berries, keeping chickens for eggs and even bee hives for honey.
Molly said she and Craig chose to live organically in an effort to protect the most basic building block of every farm: the soil.
“I want to do as much as I can to ensure that people know their food is safe,” Molly said.
She said the food grown on their farm is certified organic, which requires a lot of extra paperwork and documentation in addition to limiting the type of pesticides and other chemicals the Stottses can use on their crops.
“We try to do things as naturally as possible,” Molly said. “If it gets really bad, we use only pesticides that are approved on a very strict schedule.”
But despite the amount of work, the Stottses wouldn’t trade their life for anything.
“It makes me happy,” Molly said. “It makes Craig happy too. There’s nothing I enjoy doing more than getting in that dirt and planting my seeds and watching them grow. It’s healing to my soul.”
Molly said nothing is more satisfying to her than harvesting food that she and Craig have grown.
Molly hopes My Father’s Garden can serve as an example to others, especially young people, as to what they are capable of learning to grow even with limited experience and land.
“We love having young people come out here to see what we’re doing,” she said. “You don’t have to have 10 acres or 20 acres. You don’t have to have five acres. We have 3.2 acres and we eat off it. It’s just an awesome thing to be creative and to see the fruit of your harvest.” §