about firefly farm
The farm was built over a hundred years ago in 1916. Ron Garcia’s parents bought the place when he was a small boy back in 1950. Back then 21st Street was a dirt road and there were farms all around. Over the years, Ron’s family had a milk cow, beef cattle, a few pigs, some sheep, lots of chickens, hunting dogs, and barn cats. Ron’s dad raised wheat and soy beans and of course, a great, big garden, too. His mom had some fruit trees and dill and garlic planted close to the back door, both of which survive to this day. In 1955, the Udall tornado took the barn and garage. Ron’s dad rebuilt both shortly afterward and they are still solid structures today. Ron ran a motorcycle dealership and repair shop here for over thirty years. He is retired now but is an honorary member of our farm team and contributes more than a little to the never ending job of fixing, repairing, and maintaining everything. Almost every corner of this old place has some kind of memorable story attached to it. Now, we are thrilled to share it with the public and we invite you to make some of your own memorable stories here, too!
Leah Dannar-Garcia grew up two doors to the west of the farm and played here as a kid; the experience left her with a deep love of animals and the farming life. She spent her early adult years in New York City. Later, she travelled and worked in countries around the world before returning to Wichita in 1998 and marrying the boy next door soon after. She will never forget the persimmon groves she saw in Korea, the lady finger bananas she ate in Mexico, or the vineyards she toured in the Republic of Georgia. Those far away experiences had a great impact on her ideas about regional agriculture and cuisine. From the types of crops grown here, to the farmers’ markets, farm-to-table dinners, and public venue space, her vision is beginning to take shape. In the near future, it includes adding a u-pick operation and seasonal café. She gets little free time these days, but when she does, she enjoys music and the visual arts, hiking and kayaking in SE Kansas, and essay writing.
Colten and Chelsey’s passion for growing nutritious food in a sustainable manner was sparked during their quest to heal their young son, Bennett, from his severe eczema and food allergies. After learning about the industrial food system, they decided they wanted to grow as much of their own food as possible. This led them to our farm. Chelsey was hired on as an apprentice in June of 2018. She liked it so much, that her husband, Colten, decided he wanted to join our work too, and as of May 2019, he will begin his own full-time internship. Upon completion of his internship, Firefly Farm will expand it's focus toward incubating their fledgling farm practice. The Blackwoods hope to one day own their own farm and to help other families who have children suffering from autoimmune conditions. Their son is living proof that food is the ultimate medicine when it is free from chemicals and is grown in vibrant, living soil. In his spare time Colten enjoys anything that involves working with his hands; Chelsey enjoys hiking and being outdoors, and Bennett enjoys watching Winnie the Pooh.