Philo Ridge switches to agricultural research

Change is coming to Philo Ridge Farm, and like much change, it comes with some difficult decisions.

The 400-acre farm that was established by Diana McCargo and Peter Swift in 2012 as an organic regenerative farm after they bought the Foote family farm that had existed on the property since 1878 is transitioning to a nonprofit organization.

“After a transformative and deeply rewarding decade, we now want to ensure that Philo Ridge Farm will be a multigenerational community asset,” McCargo and Swift said in a letter to the community.

In the letter the couple talked about how hard the transition will be because “valued employees” had to be let go.
Philo Ridge Farm is transitioning to a nonprofit engaged in research “to support more farmers in the transition to regenerative agriculture by providing both concrete evidence of its positive impact and knowledge for effectively implementing regenerative practices,” the farm said in a release.

Because of the changes, the market and the dining service will be shutting down on Saturday, Dec. 9, but until then the farm and its ancillary agricultural enterprises will continue as before with the farm still serving lunch, brunch and dinner. The farm plans to host its annual Winter Holiday Market on Dec. 9.

“Philo Ridge Farm will pause all public-facing food service operations, including the market and dining facilities, as the team prepares for this next phase of the farm’s evolution and works through the process of designing and developing the nonprofit,” the release said. “Guided by a founding commitment to keeping working lands working, Philo Ridge will remain a working farm, growing crops, raising animals, grazing the land and exploring new ways to contribute to agricultural research and education.”