Francis and Elizabeth have faith: radical faith that each seedling will emerge; faith that the two inches of humus that took years to build will sustain their crops; faith that the rains will come and that all their hard work will pay off; faith the healthy, nutrient-dense vegetables they raise will nourish themselves, their friends and family. At Faith Beyond Farm, they cultivate faith that compels them to act as careful stewards for all the plants, animals and people that make the farm possible.
Elizabeth has a bright laugh, radiant smile and beautiful voice. It is a treat, a mood-altering, uplifting treat to hear Elizabeth sing as she toils in the field on a spring day. Francis is more reserved, possessing a quiet, gentle strength. Quick and attentive, Francis often appears as if he is fresh off the soccer pitch, only with gumboots in place of cleats. They are a sweet couple with a sweet story (Francis spent days in the bush collecting a very particular honey to offer Elizabeth’s family on their wedding day – just one example) but they are also dedicated, skilled farm partners.
One of Francis’ strengths is seeding. He’s focused and meticulous. Elizabeth is a master cultivator, wielding her hoe with aplomb. “We value natural ways of farming,” Elizabeth says, “stewarding the ground the way the Creator intended, protecting habitats and feeding the soil.” They have matured quickly as farmers during the two seasons they’ve spent with Seattle Tilth Farm Works. Faith Beyond Farm was one of the few farms that successfully raised carrots and parsnips in our rocky soils. They were also one of the first to utilize caterpillar tunnels to improve tomato and bean yields, and one of the best at estimating yields and communicating that valuable information to staff.
This year, Francis is keen on honing his tractor skills so that he and Elizabeth can cultivate and prep their own fields. Elizabeth is working hard to select crop varieties suited to their strengths, the market and their piece of ground. They intend to increase the yield of their farm and have confidence their planning will pay off. Francis says, “We have faith the best is yet to come.”