Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative is a group of small-scale farms who have teamed up to share resources so that we can deliver the best foods more easily to our customers. All of our farmers are committed to sustainably raising livestock on clean pastures using methods that benefit the animals and the land on which they graze. Each Grass Roots farmer has a unique, personal interest in sustainable agriculture. Read our stories below to learn more about why we farm the way we do.
In addition to supporting our member farms, the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative is also committed to assisting individuals and families interested in entering into the sustainable-agriculture economy. Every year, in collaboration with Heifer USA, we provide a handful of apprentice farmers—chosen from a pool of applicants—startup capital, agricultural equipment, technical assistance, market access, and financial training. After a year, these farms can be voted into membership by the coop board. This mentorship program serves to cultivate new local food systems around the state and to reinvigorate the rural economies on which they depend.
Farmers: Bills Staggs
The Staggs family tends to the animals in 120 acres of woodlands and pastures near Charleston, AR. After his daughter became a vegetarian because of her dissatisfaction with practices in the commercial meat industry, Bill became more interested in higher standards for animal husbandry. He transitioned this land into a sustainable, grass-based system for their grazing pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys. Bill’s belief in the pasture-to-plate model of agriculture is the driving force behind their farm and its role in the co-op. Three generations of Staggs now live on the farm—Bill, his daughter, and his new grandson.
Farmers: Steve, Ashley, and Jeff Dettelbach
Brothers Steve and Jeff and Steve’s wife Ashley operate Dettelbach Farm on thirty acres in the Arkansas delta. They are focused on operating a diversified, sustainable farm that will be an inspiration for and connection to their community and others in the agricultural network. Currently, they raise sheep and chickens on pasture, integrating them into their vegetable production. With support from the co-op, they plan on introducing cattle and pigs into their land-management system.
Farmers: Andrea Todt and Cody Hopkins
Andrea and Cody are first-generation farmers who have been tending to animals in the heart of the Ozark Mountains since 2007. Having long felt a strong pull toward sustainable farming and living, they work to ensure that their agricultural practices are respectful of the land and the animals that graze it. Falling Sky Farm raises pastured chickens, pigs, and cattle, employing rotational grazing methods because they believe that this approach ensures healthy land and animals.
Farmers: Mitchell and Jami Latture
When the Latture family moved from Cabot to Mitchell’s great-grandfather’s land in McRae, farming was not their plan. But their desire to run a family-friendly business that served their new community brought them to it, and Freckle Face Farm was born. Through their work as farmers, they’ve come to believe that what people eat truly does affect every aspect of their lives, from their health to their environment. So they began raising chickens, turkey, pigs, and milk cows.They joined GRFC to get support from other farmers with similar values operational standards. Since becoming co-op members they’ve been able to feed the pigs GMO-free grain, and they hope to soon add beef cows into their grazing rotation.
Farmers: Chris and Melanie Ward
Nestled in the rolling Ozark hills of Boone County, Fresh Food Farm is undeterred by the limestone outcroppings and bluffs that mark the region. Melanie Perez Ward and her husband Chris established this livestock-based farming operation that employs environmentally-friendly and sustainable farming techniques using animal welfare standards. Melanie is a first generation farmer who recently left her career as a local executive director for a national non-profit organization for a full time job on the farm. Goats are key in managing the woody vegetation; they open up the land to make it more suitable for other types of grazing livestock. This symbiotic relationship between the land and livestock is really the heart of the management system for the farm. Melanie and Chris, along with help from their seven children, raise chickens, turkeys, hogs, sheep, and cattle. All of the farm’s livestock are raised without the use of hormones or any antibiotics to ensure that their customers receive only clean, healthy, high quality poultry, pork, beef, and lamb.
Farmers: Adrian Sopshire
Fruit of the vine Farms was established by the Sopshire family in 2010 after they purchased a small parcel of land in Crawford County, Arkansas. Adrian discovered his love of the outdoors during his time in the military, which prompted him to start his own farm. His wife, LaTonya, is a nurse and mental health professional who supported the establishment of Fruit of the Vine Farm, as did their children Darian and Adoni. The Sopshires raise chickens, hogs, goats, and vegetables. Fruit of the Vine also hosts community gatherings to share their sustainable agriculture techniques with the people around them.
Farmers: John and Kaleah Riordan
John and Kaleah Riordan run Restoration Farm in western Arkansas. Their three young daughters, Emma, Molly, and Alice enjoy tagging along during chores. On this farm, which consists of thirty acres in Rudy, Arkansas, the Riordans raise grass-fed beef and chickens using rotational grazing techniques. Kaleah Riordan, who graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith with a Nursing LPN degree, does the bulk of the day-to-day work. As a child, Kaleah took care of chickens, ducks, geese, horses and milk goats on her family’s farm. Learning about restorative methods of agriculture that create an abundant landscape and healthy food reignited her passion for farming. John, who graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in civil engineering, has been a lifelong resident of Crawford County Arkansas and shares Kaleah’s passion for restorative agriculture. The Riordans also hope to help restore a local vibrant farm community that provides locally grown healthy food.
Farmers: Kerry Harrington and Josh Jimenez
When Kerry and Josh of The Other Side Farm decided that sustainable livestock farming was the lifestyle they wanted for themselves and their family, they joined the the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative. They both had previous agricultural experience, but they didn’t have the resources to become full-time farmers. With support from the co-op, they raised their first season of chickens in 2014. Having successfully completed their first year, they hope to continue to farm for many years to come.
Farmers: Lance and Skye Wright
The land that is now established as The Wright Place has been in Lance Wright’s family for several years.. Their two young sons are the family’s fifth generation to live on this scenic spot in Quitman, Arkansas. The Wrights joined the cooperative so that they could have access to resources that would allow them to farm. They currently raise cattle, chickens, and goats. Using sustainable farming practices and being good stewards to the land are important to the Wrights because they hope farming will be available to their family’s future generations. The Wrights plan to continue growing and expanding their farming operation in the years to come.