The amazing work of Scott and Nicole Tyson at 180 Degree Farm grew out of a very personal hardship. Their son was diagnosed with cancer at just 4 years old.
They decided they wanted to grow healthy food not just for their family, but for their whole community. Since starting the farm in 2009, Scott and Nicole have developed a partnership with the nearby Cancer Centers of America, regularly distribute food to church groups and food banks, and educate people on the connection between health and the foods we eat.
A beautiful family with a beautiful story!
What do you produce? We grow veggies, fruits, honey, pasture raised chicken, duck, and goose eggs, lamb, pastured raised chicken & turkey. Our specialty is duck eggs. It started out as a niche market and has blown up. We also grow specialty items like turmeric and ginger.
Who does the farming at your place? It's a family affair - me, my wife Nicole, sons Camron and Mason, my father & mother-in-law, as well as a large group of volunteers. I have an off the farm job (I run a warehouse/distribution center in Atlanta) and my wife works full time on the farm with the family.
How did you get into farming? My son was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (neuroblastoma) at the age of 4 and we decided after many years of research to take our knowledge of growing to a larger scale to not only help him, but help others in our community. We started 180 in 2009.
What makes your farm special? What is unique about our farm is the relationship we have with those who are sick. 80+ percent of our customer base has cancer or some other severe illness. They come to us because of Mason’s testimony, the uniqueness of what we grow, and that they can bring their family to walk around and enjoy the gardens and animals.
Many customers come to the farm for our duck/goose eggs, because they have a higher nutrient content than chicken eggs and they’re also an alkaline protein. We feed our ducks, geese, chickens, and turkeys with Certified Organic Feed from Coyote Creek Feed Mill, which our customer base wants. Pastured, organically fed eggs are harder to come by these days, hence the reason we sometimes have a waiting list for them, even with a much higher price point.
Patients of CTCA (Cancer Centers of America) hospital in Newnan are brought to the farm during the warmer months to get out and enjoy the beauty of the farm, as well. This partnership with CTCA connects us with people from all over the US and allows us the opportunity to teach about the importance of an all-natural/organic diet, especially when dealing with cancer.
Outreach is another important facet of the farm. We provided over 24,500lbs of natural/organically grown food to various groups in our community in 2013, praise God! We work with senior communities, churches, and food banks to help us distribute this food to the people who need it most. We also empower our CSA members and friends of the farm to take food to people they know are struggling. This helps us expand our impact to so many more people by empowering those closest to us.
Finally, we teach about nutrition and food awareness to large groups throughout the year. We’ve taught at high schools, military bases, churches, senior centers, elementary schools, and garden clubs. Whether they get food from us or another farm that is Certified Naturally Grown, education is half the battle to creating changes in food buying habits.
Favorite vegetable That depends on the season! In the spring, it would be kale, tomatoes in the summer, beets in the fall, spinach in the winter.
What’s your favorite dish to cook at home? Cajun Roasted Pasture Raised Chicken with roasted rosemary-thyme carrots, beets, and turnips in a peach mango sauce, and kale chips! Yum!!
Why do you feel natural practices are important? It is healthier nutritionally and safe from pesticides, GMOs, herbicides, etc. It also keeps chemicals out of our lakes, rivers, and drinking water.
Why did you get involved with CNG? I think the peer-to-peer inspection is the biggest factors for us. It’s also affordable for farmers to be involved and gives consumers reassurance that there is integrity by the farmer to do the right thing.
What advice would you give to a farmer just starting out? Diversification is the key to a farm’s success. Having a range of products provides security in case there is crop failure, bad weather, predator problems, etc... It is also a way to spread income throughout the year.
Be sure to tell your story and have a niche product. What will make you stand out from the farmer right down the street?
Who is your hero in the food and farming world? Chef Dan Barber and farmer Jack Algiere have elevated the farm to table movement to another level entirely. Being a farmer and former chef, what impresses me about Dan and Jack is the symbiotic relationship between them. If I had one statement that I think best describes them it would be, “Simplistic innovators that are responsible and ecologically efficient.” America needs more relationships like this!
Joel Salatin is shaking things up in ways that I never thought possible. As a Christian, it’s not always easy being an “Organic/Natural” farmer. Some believe that Christianity and Organics just don’t go together, but in fact, Christians should be at the forefront of this Organic/Natural/ chemical free/pasture based movement. I mean, what is Godly about GMO’s, or abusing the animals or the environment by having CAFO’s? It is our mandate to be caretakers of creation and Joel is reaching new groups of people bringing these topics to light. An amazing man that I would love to meet one day.
If you're local to the Atlanta metro area, stop by the farm in Sharpsburg on Saturdays or visit them at CTCA Hospital in Newnan on Wednesdays.