Relinda and her father inspecting his convential soybean crop in 2001.
Relinda and her father inspecting his convential soybean crop in 2001.

The farmer and the farm

 

Walker Farms today is a certified organic farm with 67 cultivated acres, producing primarily vegetables and organic seed crops.  Relinda Walker has been the farmer for 10 years, proudly growing healthy food for local and regional customers.

 

The farm was purchased by Relinda's grandfather, Frank Lafayette Walker, in 1925, the year Relinda's dad was born.  Frank Alston Walker farmed the land from the time he returned from World War II in 1947 til his health forced him to retire from active farm management in 2002. The farm was his passion and the only job he ever held. 

 

Relinda's dad, who primarily grew traditional row crops, was recognized as a successful producer and a good steward of the land. He was also among the first in the region to grow watermelons and cantaloupes commercially, and his roadside sales attested to the quality of these crops.

 

Relinda grew up on this farm, exploring its woods and fields without ever imagining herself as a farmer. That came later as she developed a passion for food, an interest in agriculture, and a desire to be part of a healthier food system.

 

The evolution of Walker Farms to an organic enterprise began when Relinda returned to the farm to start growing specialty produce for restaurants, stores and local customers. The process was one of intensive learning: from her father about the basics of growing and from a remarkably generous network of farmers, researchers, and extension folks willing to share experiences and work together to find more sustainable ways of farming. The farm was certified organic in 2005. 

 

A strong supporter of sustainable agriculture and the National Organic Program, Relinda Walker, when not overseeing the farm’s operation, spends much of her time delivering talks on organic and sustainable farming. After a career in education and technology management, Relinda considers the job of growing good food the most important and rewarding of her life. She was honored in 2011 as the Georgia Organics Land Steward of the Year.

 

Relinda accepting Georgia Organics 2011 Land Steward of the Year Award
Relinda accepting Georgia Organics 2011 Land Steward of the Year Award