At Five Seeds Farm and Apiary, Denzel Mitchell has found the perfect means of combining his multiple talents as a farmer, educator, chef and father of five. Mitchell started the farm in 2008, on a handful of lots located in the Belair-Edison neighborhood of Baltimore. In 2011, the farm expanded its operations and transitioned onto larger acreage in Sparks, MD, 25 miles north of the city.
The farm is family-owned and operated by Mitchell, his wife Tiombe, and their five children. They farm without any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides and have a special focus on growing heritage varieties, particularly those with roots in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition to vegetables, the farm also produces fruit, herbs, eggs, and honey. On the farm’s customer base, Mitchell has this to say: “We grow for people who eat. Our sales outlets include farmers markets, local restaurants and a CSA. Our CSA of 40 shares has grown owver the past 5 years from the humble number of 5! Our honey gets harvested twice a year depending on the season’s flow and is very popular until it sells out (which is quickly)!
In addition to managing the farm, Mitchell also works as the Food and Greening Coordinator at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School. He oversees an elaborate school garden there and teaches gardening, cooking and healthy-eating skills to students. “The children actually do all the cooking, I just orchestrate,” he says. “We’re trying to create a seed-to-table program in which the kids get the full cycle of what happens to the food, where the food comes from, how do you prepare it, how do you compost it,” he notes. “We also run a … large school-yard garden with 35 fruit trees, a berry grove, 5 chickens, 3 bee hives, and a large vegetable garden. It’s pretty awesome.”