Founded in 2015, Old Soul Farm is a small, diversified market garden located just outside downtown Barre, Vermont, only 15 minutes south of Montpelier. Historically the property operated as a dairy farm, and more recently a horse farm, which provided us with rich, healthy soil to grow in. In our first season we used organic practices to produce nutrient-rich vegetables and a variety of fresh cut flowers that we sold here at our farm stand as well as the Barre and Chelsea farmers markets. This upcoming season we will be venturing into egg production and applying for our Organic Certification.We take our role as stewards of the land very seriously and strive to improve the quality of the soil with each passing season. The opportunity to reclaim our food sovereignty by growing our own food using only organic, non-GMO, and sustainable methods has been a dream come true. Farming is a lifestyle choice and we delight in our ability to see (and taste!) the fruits of our labor.
We (farmers Kim Rich and Matt Systo) met while attending University of Vermont's Farmer Training Program in 2014. FTP is a 6-month intensive program where we received a skills-based education in sustainable farming, as well as priceless time spent with expert farmers and educators, really allowed us to jump into our first season with confidence.
Kim grew up in rural Lancaster, Massachusetts where her mother had a large vegetable garden, grew a variety of perennial fruits and flowers, participated in annual pumpkin growing contests, and cared for a barn full of horses. She grew up playing outside with her three older siblings, getting covered in dirt and stealing tomatoes from the garden when she was supposed to be weeding. She graduated from Bryant University in Rhode Island, where she earned a business degree in marketing. After college Kim was looking for a career that would help communities gain education and better access to healthy food. After a few classes in a master’s program in nutrition education she knew that she craved the ability to work more closely and hands on with the food system and ultimately found the continuing education program at UVM in Sustainable Agriculture.
Matt, born and raised in Barre, Vermont, grew up with a sense of adventure but no set direction with which to take it. He inherited both a love for the outdoors and an incredible work ethic from his parents. His mother grew up in Barre, spending a lot of time riding horses and helping out at her grandparents' farm before she went on to grow up and build her own successful business. His father possesses immeasurable skills and ingenuity from years of experience with tractors, forestry, and machinery that Matt continues to benefit and learn from every day. As a kid Matt spent the majority of his time either in the woods building tree houses or on the ice playing hockey. Those summer days spent wandering around the woods is where Matt discovered his love for the land. After graduating Spaulding High School he joined a gap-year program where he spent 6 months in Ecuador where he lived with host families and volunteered in hospitals, schools and an eco lodge focused on land conservation. He was amazed by the resiliency, resourcefulness and passion of the people there. They didn't have a TV, refrigerator, or air conditioner but they owned their own land, grew their own food, and cherished their time spent with friends, family. After returning to the United States he was inspired to use the knowledge he had gathered to create some positive change and what better place to start than at American University in Washington DC. After a semester he realized the change he was looking for would never come from a career in politics. After returning home to Vermont Matt stumbled upon the UVM Farmer Training program and the rest is history. Through farming, Matt and Kim have found a way to combine their love of the land with their passion for helping people and creating positive changes in the world.