In honor of Earth month, we sat down with one of the San Tan Valley’s farmers, Mark Rhine of RhibaFarms, to hear about his commitment to regenerative agriculture and growing good food in Arizona.
How did you get into farming?
I’m a retired broadband contractor who decided to recreate myself through small farming. At first I was motivated for health reasons, then I found my real passion. Nothing makes me feel better about myself than growing nutrient dense food and healing the earth at the same time.
Tell us about RhibaFarms
Rhibafarms is located in the San Tan Valley, east of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Our new farm location is less than two years old, we started with 3.3 acres of desert dirt, that had been vacant for over twelve years. We are building a diverse bio intensive small farm. We currently grow Certified Organic and GHP/GAP approved Microgreens, along with mushrooms. We also grow a large variety of soil and tree crops along with our Free Range Chickens and Ducks.
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What does Earth Day mean to you as a farmer?
Regenerative Agriculture is not just a buzzword, it is alive and well here in the desert on our farm. For the last ten years our “Food Rescue” program has been collecting food scraps, (good garbage), from all of the restaurants, micro-breweries and coffee shops we work with. We then compost that waste and turn it into an organic medium and mix it with our desert soil. We collect somewhere between 2000 to 5000 lbs of waste every week and convert it into compost, we figure we are diverting around 100 tons of waste per year away from the land fill.
What’s the best way for locals to get your produce?
You can get our produce directly from our Farm Stand every Saturday from 9am – 1pm at 40792 N Rattlesnake Rd in San Tan Valley. We also have a Farmbox CSA Program with pick up locations around the valley, sign up here for our Spring Equinox box.
Later this month we are opening up the farm for Old School Spring Farm to Table Picnic. Come tour of the farm, see our animals, take a workshop, and enjoy our fresh produce cooked up by some of Arizona’s best chefs. Tickets available here.
Want to learn more from Mark? We do, too. Join us for his presentation on Starting a Small Farm From Scratch at the 2019 Arizona Food & Farm Forum.