Local Farmer Strives To Bring Sustainability To Athens

By Tatum Smith

Writer’s Note: I wrote my first profile in my reporting and writing across platforms class. I was in the environment beat, so I got to interview, and write about an Athens local farmer who is involved in the community.

Locally grown, organic, all-natural foods, and protecting the environment are popular topics today. Sydney Buffington addresses all of these topics in her love for farming and role in the Athens Farmers Market. She takes pride in producing and selling a wide range of produce to the Athens-Clarke County locals.

Sydney Buffington has a large background in farming. She grew up loving everything about the outdoors and is now lucky enough to have a career in which she is outside almost every day. She owns and operates a small Certified Naturally Grown Farm in Hull, GA called Ladybird Farm with her husband, Derek Pope. She produces locally grown; in-season produce. You can find her produce at restaurants and stores throughout Athens, The Athens Farmers Market, West Broad Farmers Market, and through her Ladybird Farm Website.

With the love of working outside, Buffington sometimes forgets that she is even working because of the beauty. “I just found this really great opportunity to have a chance to be working and not be at the same time. I fell into that warrior vibe of being able to help the environment and the community through my work,” Buffington shares.

Adding to Buffington’s list of nourishing the Athens community, she is also the president of The Athens Farmers Market. The Athens Farmers Market mission statement, “The Athens Farmers Market exists to provide an. Economic, educational, and cultural connection between community members, farmers, and artisans,” shows the love the market has for the community and the environment. Sydney Buffington’s role in the farmers market portrays her love to nourish the environment and the Athens community.

“I think we are a little different in the fact that we both, myself and my husband, come from service industry backgrounds. So, we’re in touch with being core, but we’re also not just in touch with the food but also the eaters,” Buffington states.

Sydney Buffington stands by The Athens Farmers Market five core values. Providing Athens with locally grown food is their top priority. They want the community to feel like family. This goes into another value of community. They believe that the community deserves the best.

Sustainability is another core value. Their impact on the environment and the community is one of their top priorities. The Athens Farmers Market website states, “our products nourish not only human bodies, but also the land.” They strive to have all of their products at the best quality for the customers. Every product that is sold at the market is made with passion. The last core value is the culture of hospitality. The farmers market wants everyone to feel welcome at the market.

Zach Franklin, a student at the University of Georgia, is from the Atlanta area. He has been to the Athens Farmers Market and been able to talk with some of the local business owners.

“The Athens Farmers Market is such a great community. I used to go to farmers markets back home and going to the farmers market here in Athens takes me back home. I would buy fresh produce and cook meals with my mom. It takes me back home,” Franklin shares.

Ladybird Farm and the Athens Farmers Market both hold a feeling of community. They show that they are bigger than themselves. The next time you visit the farmers market, or are in need of fresh produce, stop by to support Sydney Buffington and her selection of produce.