Our farm depends on a community of people, animals, and plants coming together for the betterment of the whole farm system. No one person can take credit for feeding so many. Many people, many animals, and many plants interweave to generate the holistic community centered on this farm, and we deeply appreciate the sacrifice from all.
Riverview is a second-generation family farm that started in the 1970s when Carter Swancy first bought the land. Originally operated as a mostly-sustainable hog and corn farm, Carter’s son Wes and his wife Charlotte started the farm’s transformation to organic production in 2000, as a means of saving the farm. Wes’ brothers Brad and Drew joined in, and today all participate in farming production and decisions.
For someone who professes to not like growing vegetables (very much), Wes grows some incredibly delicious produce. A master of details and a natural caretaker, Wes dotes over the care and feeding of his animals, ensuring their safety, health, well being, and happiness. He brought heritage breed pigs to the farm. He breeds them. He births them. He grows the feed that they eat and maintains their pastures and woodlots. And he oversees the production of all those “pesky” vegetables that end up in the CSA, at market, on FarmMobile, or in the animals’ bellies. When the sun goes down, he plays guitar.
Charlotte wants nothing more than to feed families healthy and delicious food. She’s driven by that. And it drives her–she delivers the farm’s food to Atlanta 3-4 days every week of the year. Delivering the weekly produce CSA. Delivering to the best restaurants in town. Delivering to farmers markets. Taking orders on the phone all the while she moves in her circles, connecting to other farmers, connecting to her community. Sharing her infectious laugh. She homeschools her and Wes’ son Graham (probably while driving).
The milling of Riverview Farms’ grains is Brad’s province. Using a Meadows stone mill, Brad grinds corn meal, polenta, and grits using heirloom and non-genetically-modified white, yellow, and red corn he grows on the farm. He also mills corn for the growing micro-distillery movement for brewers from Atlanta to Chattanooga, and east to Dawsonville. You can find Brad at the Chattanooga Main Street Market and other north Georgia farmers’ markets. When he’s not working on the farm, at market, or raising his three children with his wife Julia (they’re homeschooling too!), Brad plays improvisational piano.
When he was little, Carter’s daddy grew a big garden. Very big. It was there that Carter learned how to grow produce without the crutch of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, an experience that pays off today in the technical advice that he provides at Riverview. His boyhood memories motivated Carter to leave his career as an electrician in favor of a life of farming alongside his family. Though not originally “organic”, Carter’s sensibilities always tended toward sustainability and preservation of his farm’s land, even when raising pork and feed corn sold through traditional channels.