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Happy Compromise Farm: Nourishing Their Community, Body and Soul

Posted by FPAC Strategic Communications Specialist Suzanne Pender in Conservation Farming
Oct 17, 2023
Eryn Leavens and Oliver Gawlick with boxes of fresh produce provided free to their neighbors and community

Happy Compromise Farm + Sanctuary grows nutritious food for their local community distributed through a “free farm stand.” Though surrounded by farms in the rural Southern Tier of New York, the area is a food desert with a 16% poverty rate, a condition that often leads to higher risk for chronic health conditions and limited healthcare.

Farm founders Oliver Gawlik and Eryn Leavens replenish their free farm stand daily with vegetables, fruit, flowers and even plant starts from their nonprofit farm. “Our hope is that anyone in the area who needs food will stop by and take whatever they need,” said Oliver.

Recipes along with free, fresh produce, replaced daily in the Happy Compromise Farm + Sanctuary garden farm stand

Since building the farm stand several months ago, they have distributed 2,300 pounds of produce – tomatoes, squash, beans, garlic, potatoes, artichokes, greens, peppers, and much more; more than 400 plant starts; and roughly 150 flower bouquets. Easy plant-based recipes are also available in the stand.

Bouquets of flowers in the free farm stand with sign, “Please take some flowers (You deserve them!)

Bouquets of flowers are offered for neighbors’ homes that also benefit pollinators. “Most of our farm stand visitors are shy about taking the flower bouquets,” said Eryn. “We want them to know they deserve more than just food and encourage them to enjoy bouquets to bring pleasure to their days.”

With the help of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, a high tunnel will be added this year to extend the farm’s growing season.

Oliver Gawlick in the Happy Compromise Farm + Sanctuary garden with wildflowers

In addition to the farm, Happy Compromise is a sanctuary and lifetime home for more than 110 rescued animals, from cows to alpacas to chickens, and supports sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle decisions to slow climate change.

“For us, a People’s Garden is a safe, inclusive space where everyone is welcome. Like our farm and sanctuary, we see it as a model of what is possible in the world,” said Oliver.

To learn how your garden can join the People’s Garden movement, visit

Oliver Gawlick and Eryn Leavens in the doorway of the new free farm stand they constructed for their community
Category/Topic: Conservation Farming