“You cannot underestimate the power of community,” says Melisa Oliva, co-owner of Montpelier’s Ananda Gardens: Vermont’s Wellness Farm with her husband, Patrick Sullivan. “You can live in a place of incredible beauty, a paradise, but if the community is not welcoming, you cannot make a home.”
Oliva speaks from personal experience. She and Sullivan lived in many beautiful places in Central and South America (the two met while surfing in Central America), but it was in Vermont where they found the welcoming and inspiring community they were looking for. The couple now runs a CSA-focused organic farm just 10 minutes from the state capitol.
“We are a small-scale, family-owned, bicultural family,” Oliva says. “We represent a new generation of organic growers that is co-creating the agricultural landscape of Vermont.”
Perched on the banks of the North Branch River, Ananda has wide, flat fields full of luscious greens and assorted vegetables, hoop houses growing tomatoes, peppers, and garlic, and a handful of beehives to keep things growing. They use innovative and regenerative farming practices to produce delicious and nutritious food in living soil. They offer organic veggies through their home delivery CSA, an on-site farmstand CSA (pick only what you need), and wholesale sales.
“Ananda is a Sanskrit word that means bliss,” Oliva says. “For us, farming and sharing what we grow is bliss. It is to eat and live well, serve our community, respect the sacredness of the earth, and honor its gifts.”
Vermont makers wear Vermont Flannel.