Locust Light Farm strives to empower individuals in their wellness journeys. Through our on-farm classes as well as our handcrafted products, we seek to connect people directly to the plants. We believe that personal connection with the plants is healing in itself.
We seek to foster the wellness of our local community by providing high-quality herbs and herbal preparations. We aim to connect individuals to their own health and wellness by providing education and a relationship with the farmer, herbalist, and the land on which the herbs are grown. The health of the ecosystem and the health of the individual are closely connected: we farm using methods that promote soil and plant health and ecosystem sustainability. We do not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. We pick all herbs with care, by hand, and process them the same way.
Amanda had worked as an organic vegetable farmer for about 6 years before starting Locust Light. During her time as a veggie grower, she came to believe very strongly in the importance of eating local food for nutritional reasons as well as environmental, social justice, and economic reasons. Also during those years, Amanda began exploring the world of herbalism, reading herbal books and making her own tinctures and oils. At some point it occurred to her that if she believed so strongly in local food, why not use local herbs in her products? After all, when we ask plants for healing, they are operating at an even higher vibrational frequency. Surely the energetics behind medicinal herbs would be best from plants that were grown locally. But when she sought out a source for local bulk herbs, she wasn't able to find one. Amanda felt called to supply herbs to her local community.
She began by growing some medicinal plants at Roots to River, where she was working. As she set about planning this small herb patch, Amanda realized that she didn't know anything about these plants: she didn't know how large they would grow, when they would bloom, or exactly how to harvest from them. She had only interacted with these plants as cut-and-sifted dried herbs that had arrived in her mailbox in plastic pouches or tincture bottles. She knew next-to-nothing about these herbs as living plants.
Amanda dove into a study of how to help this wild and wildly-diverse set of plants to grow in cultivation, but she held on to the realization that many people who are interested in herbs or even studying them do not have much opportunity to interact with these plants as living organisms. They do not get a chance to see them as full plants, to smell their fresh fragrance or see the shine of dew on their leaves. They do not have the honor of asking permission to harvest, of watching leaves transform as their water evaporates. Amanda felt a spiritual imperative to create a space in which people and plants could truly engage with each other.
Locust Light Farm began in 2015 on a property in Bucks County PA. The land was strikingly beautiful and the herbs were happy there, but Amanda decided to move the operation to Gravity Hill Farm in order to make the gardens accessible to the community. 2017 was LL's first season at this new location. We are all been thrilled to be part of this group of businesses that so perfectly complement each other. Specifically, Amanda is happy to be working closely again with the Roots to River crew, who have remained her true farming family all these years.
The Importance of Locally-Grown Herbs.
Locally-grown herbs carry unique benefits to fostering wellness. When an herb is grown and processed within your community, you can know every aspect of the methods used to produce your herbal preparation. You can learn the growing practices, the processing techniques -- you can even know what the attitude is like of the person handling the herb. Is the person cheerful, peaceful? Are they happy to be picking or cleaning the herb? Thus, you can be confident that you are receiving the highest quality product available.
Locally-grown herbs also connect you with the natural rhythms of our regional ecosystem. The plants have experienced the same weather you have all season: the same rainy June, the same drought in August. The plants experience the shortening daylight and dropping temperatures the same way that you do. The energy of the plants is already more in tune with your body's energy. Thus, when you consume the plants, their energy is already more available to you. Taking ashwagandha root that lived out its life in the climate of India will be a very different experience than one that was harvested during a New Jersey October, after experiencing a New Jersey growing season. The energy within this plant is already more aligned with your body's energy.
It is also important to know that herbs we use have been harvested sustainably. Many exotic herbs are over-foraged in other countries or even our own forests or deserts. It is crucial to the future of herbalism that we preserve our natural plant communities. When purchasing herbs that grow in other ecosystems, we have little way of knowing the sustainability of the harvesting practices. We have an abundance of medicinally-potent herbs available to us in New Jersey. In prioritizing these local herbs for healing we honor the natural bounty of our ecosystem.
The Community at Gravity Hill Farm.
Gravity Hill Farm is a large farm property that is home to Roots to River Farm, The Farm Cooking School, The Barn at Gravity Hill, and Locust Light Farm. These organizations are our dear friends and collaborators. We work closely together on creative projects as well as day-to-day operations. We hold them in deep respect and are honored to grow with them.
We grow our herbs on land shared with Roots to River Farm. The entire property is Certified Organic. We do not use any pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. We grow our herbs with love and care.
We dry the herbs on the farm and process them in small batches by hand. Each jar and tin is filled and labelled with care, and is infused with reiki before being sent out into the world. We strive for the utmost quality in our herbal products.
Locust Light Farm began on land in Bucks County, PA. Before she dreamed of starting an herb farm, Amanda would often be driving through Solebury on summer evenings. There was one stretch of fields in particular that she was eager to pass: they would be brimming each night with lightning bugs. She would often pull over to admire them, or drive slowly past. Soon after deciding to start her farm in Bucks County, she met the Coans, and they welcomed her into their land and community. It was, of course, the land that she would so often admire that had welcomed her onto it.
Amanda wanted the farm name to reflect the land itself, and to acknowledge the family that had so devotedly stewarded it. While walking through the forest with Jim, he pointed out the locust trees, and mentioned that his father always said that nothing could destroy them. The spiritual meaning of locust trees is psychic protection and strength. The name Locust Light Farm arrived in that instant, and has rooted itself as tenaciously as those locust trees, with all the twinkling magic of the lightning bugs.