The Scratch Farm Team
Scratch Farm is run by Ben Torpey with the help of two full-time seasonal employees, a half dozen work shares and many amazing volunteers. Ben grew up in New Jersey and started working on farms along the east coast during summer breaks from college. Inspired by the simplicity of the work and the complexity of natural systems, Ben has been growing vegetables full-time since 2005, and at Scratch Farm since 2012.
Scratch Farm was founded by Mary Saunders-Bulan in 2005. Since then, the farm been managed by a number of great young farmers, including Mary, Robert Parker, Isaac Bloch, and the farm's long-time heart-and-soul Katie Miller. Ben worked alongside Katie for 3 seasons until 2014 before she moved to Washington State, where she now lives and gardens.
Urban Edge Farm
Scratch Farm is located at Urban Edge Farm(UEF), a 50 acre state-owned property managed by the Southside Community Land Trust(SCLT) in western Cranston, 9 miles west of Providence. With federal and private support, along with help from many volunteers, SCLT and the farmers at UEF helped transform this overgrown dairy farm into sorely needed protected, affordable farmland close to the city.
Today 7 small farms operate independently at UEF but work closely with each other and with SCLT to manage the property. We share tractors, greenhouse space, the irrigation system, the barns, and the responsibilities of maintaining these things. This gives each of us access to much nicer equipment than if we were to purchase it on our own, and makes it affordable to enter into farming, a typically very capital intensive venture. Between the 7 farms, we offer 4 different CSA’s, host hundreds of volunteers each year, provide internship opportunities, run workshops, attend farmers markets, sell to many restaurants around Providence, and contribute thousands of pounds of fresh produce to our community. Urban Edge Farm is a magical place and we are excited to work with the other farmers to continue to develop this model of land tenure.
UEF farmers and crews share a late season fire.