At the end of a long blueberry-lined driveway lives Debbie and Paul Gagon, owners of Seeds of Faith Farm, and an assortment of creatures from chickens and ducks bustling about, goats staring out from their shelters, and five Great Pyrenees ready to greet you with sniffs and licks.
Debbie Gagon was raised in Connecticut where the importance of organic farming took root. Her father cared deeply about what went into his family's food, wanting only the freshest and healthiest foods possible. He processed his own meat, making sausages from scratch while her mother canned the produce from their garden. Debbie has carried on this tradition by purchasing her own land dedicated to self-sustaining, organic practice farming that serves both her family and community.
In 2013 Debbie and her husband purchased a 130-acre property in Brookneal, Virginia which originally served as a tobacco farm since 1860. A few years later, Debbie left her job of 10 years to make farming full time and has yet to look back. What started as a dream has manifested into a full operation consisting of two high tunnel houses for produce to cows, goats, free-range chickens, and ducks, as well as blueberry bushes, and rows of native, pollinator flowers.
With the unpredictability of nature, farmers are considered some of the greatest gamblers. What many may see as an industry based on knowing the workings of the land, the seasons, and a little bit of luck, is also an act of faith to Debbie, hence Seeds of Faith farm. “If you have no faith then you cannot be a farmer,” she says. This belief is based on her favorite passage from the bible, Matthew 17:20, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible.” Within her faith is also practicality knowing it is best to not put your duck and chicken eggs in one basket. “We diversify by having plants as well as animals and turn what we have into an asset.” With a Master’s in Business Administration in addition to a Master Gardener certification through the extension agency Debbie has the necessary knowledge to successfully run her operation.
In the future, she hopes to have an on-site educational facility where students can learn an array of gardening skills along with the lost arts of canning and bread making. She also imagines having Fridays at the Farm in one of the high tunnel houses where guests spend an evening enjoying bluegrass music and farm-to-table meals prepared by her two restaurant-savvy sons
Debbie primarily sells her goods at the Forest Farmer's Market every Saturday from 8 am-12 pm. Visit here for your seasonal produce needs as well as fresh eggs and whole frozen chicken.