Fly Girl Farm was founded on a 1 acre plot, ‘on the fly’, in 2012 by Airielle Love out of a commitment to contribute to the local sustainable food system, and from a desire to create a safe and supportive environment for young female farmers to farm their hearts out. Although the number of young women working in agriculture on the California Coast has steadily grown over the last several decades, women are still less often found in leadership or ownership positions and rarely trusted with operating and maintaining heavy equipment, or with managing irrigation and electrical systems. At Fly Girl Farm women and non binary individuals are empowered, trusted and uplifted on a daily basis to explore and become leaders in the sustainable agriculture movement.
Airielle Love and Kaeleigh Carrier joined forces as partners in 2017 and have since grown to cultivate 8.5 acres of diverse, mixed vegetables and cut flowers on two leased plots in the Pescadero area at Root Down Farm and Green Oaks Creek Farm. The Fly Girls are artists and agrarian entrepreneurs, committed to feeding their community with healthy food and flowers. The farm employs women and non binary individuals to help manage all aspects of the farm production and participates in five weekly farmers’ markets.
The farmers at Fly Girl Farm learn, and implement practices that reflect overarching values of sustainability and adaptability. The farm strives to improve soil water holding capacity through cover cropping and compost application, and through early planting to fully, or partially, ‘dry farm’ appropriate crops. In recent years the Fly Girls have adjusted their crop plan to minimize higher water use crops, maximizing more drought tolerant crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and winter squash.
Fly Girl Farm has built a strong presence in the community throughout their years of operation in Pescadero. Through their participation in local Farmers’ Markets (Coastside Farmers’ Markets: Half Moon Bay & Pacifica, Pescadero Grown Farmers’ Market: Pescadero, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market: College of San Mateo) the Fly Girls are deeply connected with community members, sharing their bounty, practices and goals. The farm is infinitely grateful for their large, loyal, enthusiastic and committed customer base.
As tenant farmers, the main challenge to Fly Girl Farm’s viability over the years has long been land and water security. The increasing drought conditions of the past seasons, and the rise of wildfire activity in the area, have increased the challenges to their important and unique community vision.