OUR STORYMandy and I met in 2003 when I was passing through Athens doing renewable fuels work and she took me to see her farm plot. I grew up in the suburbs and was searching for ways to do good in this world while still being connected to nature and seeing someone my age happily growing organic produce for a living blew my mind a little. More than anything though, I was impressed by her. Her spirit, her ethics, her tenacity and overarching joy in everything made a deep and lasting impression on me. I looked at her as an inspiration and role model and someone I'd hoped to remain friends with. No sparks between us though. 3 years later she needed help driving from GA to a temporary farm gig out in California and a mutual friend convinced me to be that helper. By the second day in the car, we were head over heals in love and knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together and we started planning how we could be together everyday while fusing her love for growing with my passion for renewable energy and sustainable living. Those plans kept getting clearer and more refined as we spent 6 years in California working days, nights, and weekends to save money to buy some land. Our relationship kept growing and our desire to do something good never waned. After 4 years of actively looking for land and a slew of failed attempts, the most perfect place showed up, but it happened to be 3,000 miles away. Fortunately for us, we love North Georgia, so we made an offer site unseen. We flew out 3 days later and practically melted with disbelief. This farm was perfect in virtually every single way and gave us an amazing base to build from. The land is the framework for our endeavors. Our friendship and mutual desire to build something good is the motor that keeps pushing it forward. And our community of customers and friends is the fuel that feeds us. We are truly grateful to have the opportunity to spend so much time together doing something we believe is bigger than ourselves and to be received so generously by a community that seems to feel the same way.
Mandy O'Shea is a Georgia native. She graduated from UGA with a degree in Horticulture. During that time, she began working with a local sustainable farmer and selling their goods at the Big City Bread farmers market and other local venues. She has been hooked ever since. Her love for the farm life took her to California via the WWOOF's program where she learned to combine her love for horses and farming. While in Ca., she also worked at the prestigious organic olive oil company McEvoy Ranch for multiple years helping to manage their 7 acre vegetable and cut flower gardens as well as doing daily flower arrangements to beautify the ranch, the S.F. Ferry building store and for frequent events. After missing her home state for too long, she and Steve packed up their dogs...and bee hives... and headed east bound and down to begin their new farming endeavor. She is excited to be back and to help bring beauty, blooms, and good food to the local folks.
Steve O'Shea came to Georgia from northern California to try and make this farm dream a reality. With a varied background from biology to building he has spent a few years on a sustainable farm as a mechanic on veggie oil vehicles (tractors, generators, etc), on construction of an eco village (strawbale, cob, lime plasters), and as a floater on a variety of other supporting farm tasks from harvesting to CSA management. He's also spent years working in renewable fuels as a mechanic and tour driver, prior to becoming a timber framer for close to 5 years. He is heading up farm construction and sustainability projects and helping his farm mentor (Mandy) in the fields. Steve has long struggled to try and find a profession that provided a living wage in a way that respects and nourishes the natural surroundings and the community at large and still appeals on a personal creative level. 3 Porch Farm is now the setting in which he is working to create that profession instead of seeking it out elsewhere.