“It's hard to think of yourself as a farmer, who provides food for people, as somebody who needs help in that area.”
Bobby and Chelsea Losh-Jones are young farmers in Middle Georgia that are passionate about providing good food for their community, but struggle to do the same for their family. With their baby on the way, Chelsea and Bobby saw SNAP as a way to feed their growing household.
The husband-wife duo graduated from Georgia College before starting Babe & Sage Farm in October 2011. Bobby and Chelsea believe that good food can change the world, a tenet that is reflected in everything they do. In addition to the farm, Chelsea helped to start The Green Market in Milledgeville, the Middle Georgia Young Farmers Coalition, the Middle Georgia Crop Mob, and the Middle Georgia Growers Cooperative. The two have dedicated their lives to growing good, nutritious food for their community.
Starting a sustainable farm at a such a young age is no small feat and launching Babe and Sage Farm required almost all of the money and capital the Losh Jones’ had. “We were living really meagerly for several years,” says Bobby. Other small farms were starting in the community which allowed Chelsea and Bobby to trade their vegetables for items like pasture raised chicken and fresh milk; but, as all of the farms started to grow, profit margins became thin and trading goods was no longer an option. Suddenly, Chelsea and Bobby could no longer afford their friends’ good food.
SNAP was always an option, yet Chelsea and Bobby waited until the last minute--just before their son, Tripp, was born--to apply. “I knew that we were eligible for food stamps and that to keep getting by, we needed to apply,” says Bobby. Part of their hesitation was their pride and the stigma associated with SNAP. Chelsea came around to the idea of SNAP when she learned that another member of their farming community received SNAP benefits. Bobby’s perception began to change when he met SNAP recipients at farmers markets. On his first day selling at a Wholesome Wave Georgia partner market, Bobby realized, “these are not the people I assumed to be on SNAP.” The SNAP shoppers were diverse in age, race, gender, and occupation, but had one thing in common: a desire to purchase fresh, nutritious food.
Visiting the grocery store for the first time after receiving their SNAP acceptance letter and EBT card in the mail is a memory that stands out in Bobby’s mind. “I was like ‘We can buy meat! We can buy milk for our son!’” They quickly realized that the items they considered luxuries, like peanut butter or yogurt, could now become household staples. However, they were most excited about using and doubling their SNAP benefits at the farmers market where they sold their farms produce. “Now, I'm able to buy my friend’s chicken and buy my friend’s milk.”
Chelsea began to manage The Green Market shortly after receiving SNAP. With a new understanding of the impact that SNAP can have on a family, her first priority was authorizing the market to accept SNAP. The following year, The Green Market joined the Wholesome Wave Georgia network and began doubling SNAP benefits for shoppers. “We’re really excited to provide vegetables to a family that normally wouldn't be able to buy them at the grocery store.”
Today, Chelsea and Bobby continue to transform their community, one vegetable at a time.