This feature on Farmer Charlotte is part of Loudoun Economic Development’s award-winning Farmer Trading Card series, spotlighting farmers as heroes to our community. For more information on the Farmer Trading Card 2023 starting lineup, please visit Loudoun Farms.
Farmer Charlotte Cooper serves as the field manager at Lost Corner Farm, and helps coordinate its 22-week Community Supported Agriculture program, a farm share that delivers the freshest produce to homes near its fields on the banks of the Potomac River.
“Here at Lost Corner, I think the farthest our food is going is maybe 30 miles,” she said. “You’re eating what your biome is already a part of. You’re supporting your immune system. You’re going to taste the difference.
“We’re talking about food that was picked yesterday that can be on your table two days later. Our CSA program is like becoming part of a big family – our fields to your kitchen.”
What makes Lost Corner Farm a little different is their attention to responsible stewardship of the land. As Farmer Charlotte will tell you, the terms local, organic, and sustainable have lost meaning in recent years, and she wants to bring that back down to the earth.
“Something that inspired me to start farming was a really cool book called ‘Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World,’ by Josh Tikell,” she explained. “It’s all about being a steward of the Earth, taking good care of the land and eating locally.”
Tikell’s book argues that regenerative farming practices, such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and composting, can not only sequester carbon from the atmosphere and reverse the effects of climate change, but also lead to healthier soil, better food, and improved health outcomes for people.
“In this country, we’ve become addicted to quick, fast, instant,” she said. “So you’ll see massive farms growing just one item. By doing so, you pull a lot of nutrients out of they ground, and you do it over and over and over again, for years. Eventually, the soil gets completely depleted, and it’s not workable anymore.”
The book provides a compelling case for the transformative power of regenerative agriculture, and Lost Corner Farm provides a powerful example of these practices in action.
“I’ve learned all about soil health. Soil is alive” Farmer Charlotte said. “I’ve learned about the different cycles of the veggies about the fruit. I’ve learned about how the sun affects everything, how everything is connected, and everything’s dependent on each other.”
Farming in Loudoun County means having access to high quality soil, unobstructed sunlight, and a climate that can support a six-month harvest season.
“Because we’re smaller and are able to focus on attention to detail, we can grow multiple varieties of plants. We have 40 acres and can move them all over the property,” she said. “We grow corn, popcorn, tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, all sorts of different greens. All sorts of neat stuff that you might not see at a grocery store.”
She also enjoys the social aspect of farming, which is a family affair at Lost Corner Farm.
“Something I really like about farming something fun is that I get to spend time with my friends,” she said. “I get to be out in the sunshine, I get to have my hands in the dirt, and I get to have my dog with me.”
CSA signups are seasonally available on the Lost Corner Farm website. Farmer Charlotte’s products can also be found at all Mom’s Apple Pie locations, in Leesburg, Round Hill and Occoquan.
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