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‘Another means of connecting’: Coverdale teaching farm opens store, ups production

An educational farm in northern Delaware is ramping up production — hoping to reach more people. 

Coverdale Farm Preserve, run by the Delaware Nature Society, has long hosted camps, field trips and public events. Now staff are demonstrating sustainable practices to increase the amount of food the farm produces, in hopes of reaching more people. 

Their target audience: kids, parents, working farmers—and people who eat food. 

Coverdale site director Michele Wales cut the ribbon on a new education center and farm store Friday. 

Credit Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Coverdale Farm Manager & Site Director Michele Wales

“Not only does it provide a space here … for the community to come for another means of connecting to the source of food grown with environmental integrity, they are advocates when they walk through that door and choose to buy food from us,” she said. 

Coverdale Market Garden Farmer Patrick Eggleston

The new farm store is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November.

Wales says Coverdale also plans to start supplying produce to farmers markets and community centers in the City of Wilmington, and accepts Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program vouchers. 

Coverdale Farm staff say the secret to growing more food on less land is focusing on building healthy soil—which includes rotating crops and aerating soil with hand tools, rather than tilling. 


“We don’t use any synthetic inputs whatsoever,” said Patrick Eggleston, vegetable farmer at Coverdale.



“We’re able to pull away from those entirely because we put so much front-end work into the soil itself.”



Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse praised Coverdale’s work during Friday’s ribbon cutting.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for children to have hands-on experience to understand how fruits, vegetables, meats, fibers are produced, and that experience can hopefully spark a child’s interest in agriculture that can lead to a future career,” he said. 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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