We grow nutrient dense flowers with our hands, horses, and tractor.
Stitchdown is a shoemaking technique. It is one way to attach the leather upper portion of a shoe to the mid and outsoles, by stitching them together with burly thread. The stitchdown is both a process and product, and, likewise, is a function of both strength and aesthetics.
The stitch, in cross-section, emulates the pattern of a sine wave - a universal, repeating pattern. We believe that repetition is a precursor to knowledge, which is itself precursor to wisdom and excellence – ends towards which we aspire perennially.
The stitch is also reflective of the hermetic concept ‘as above, so below,’ which describes the operation of known universe. The two sides of the earth are inextricably linked. They are complements, in perpetual balance.
By farming with intention, we hope to stitch ourselves to this place, and care for the soil and our community, so they will care for us.
We at Stitchdown strive to bring greater health, nutrition and prosperity to our land, our community and our family by building a farming enterprise that reduces our reliance on fossils and places a strong emphasis on regeneration, vibrance, and human connections.
Stitchdown Farm is owned and operated by Rita Champion and Andrew Plotsky.
Rita runs the show around here. She is from Washougal, a tiny mill town outside of Portland, OR, where she grew up riding Snowflake the horse through her neighbors hay fields and helping her Dad build the barn, fix the plumbing and change the oil in their vehicles. After high school in Portland and college in Seattle, she found farming to be nourishing, healing, purposeful and helpful to her and those she served as a farmer, and worked on vegetable operations around the PNW before starting Stitchdown on Vashon Island in 2012 with her new partner, Andrew.
Andrew is the special projects lead at Stitchdown, and in addition to all the design & marketing work, he tends the perennial systems and livestock on the farm. He grew up in Washington, DC, where he was a third generation Washingtonian and none of his family members were politicians, thanks for asking. After college in upstate NY, he set off as a gainfully employed drifter and found his way to Vashon to work as a meatsmith, where he worked slaughtering, butchering and cooking animals for three years, until Rita came along.
Food is our prime motivation for farming. We take great pleasure in eating 3 - 7 times a day, and take pride in our flower business making feasible the great privilege to grow much of our own food, living in the most beautiful place in the world, and participating in a productive community of farmers and craftspeople who are working towards a collectively prosperous central Vermont.
We have furthermore come to the conclusion that flowers are food. Flowers feed us emotionally and aesthetically, filling our eyes and overflowing our senses. Also, you can literally eat most of them, and they are delicious.
Our relationship to flowers arose of a need. We had plenty of vegetable growers in our area, but almost no flower growers. The flower industry as a whole is far behind the food industry, and has a major need for sustainably grown blooms. It is largely unspoken that up to 90% of the flowers sold in the US are imported, and almost all are grown in potent neurotoxic poison that ravishes the soils they are grown in and the human workers that grow them. The need for local flowers is not simply an aesthetic luxury, but an imperative step towards a more healthful, sustainable and beautiful local, regional and domestic agrarian economy.
Our flower business and relationship to it has since grown beyond need, and blossomed into a great love and appreciation for the delicate, whimsical eye candy that grows out of our soils. We have developed an intimate relationship with the flowers we grow and feel that is represented in the arrangements we make. Our style is guided by the endemic ecology of our hill farm, the imperfect nature of the universe, and classic European floristry.
In growing flowers, we hope to build soil, build community, contribute to a growing local economy, and be able to share the fruit of that vision with all who are in need of nourishment.