At only 30 years old, Ashley Rodgers became one of the youngest female organic farm owners and operators in Georgia and has relied on one major company to ensure her day-to-day production needs — Atlas Greenhouse Systems.
With 64 acres of land — 15 used for organic growing, 20 for vegetables and 5 for perennial fruit orchards — Rodgers has solidified her importance to the local community and Metro Atlanta area with her certified organic farm, Rodgers Greens and Roots Farm.
Established in Douglasville, Georgia, alongside the Chattahoochee River, the historic farmland is home to a Pro-Com Gutter Connect greenhouse, two standard budget plus high tunnels and three high tunnels that were previously used, but “doctored” by Atlas when necessary, Rodgers says. The greenhouse is primarily used for propagation and microgreens, while the high tunnels are used year-round. According to Rodgers, they’re good for season extension, especially in the winter.
“I’ve been farming for 11 years. I’m going on the fourth season of owning my own farm, but I’ve actually always farmed with Atlas Greenhouse Systems,” she says. “Their structures are very popular in our area and I’ve used them from the very first farm I was on and built one on the second farm I was on, so it was kind of a given that when I went to have my own farm, that I was going to work with them.”
With 9 acres used for production, Rodgers primarily grows vegetables, fruits and herbs for farmers markets, wholesale and previously, to restaurants in the surrounding area. Her harvest calendar includes foods like arugula, basil, carrots, eggplant, fennel, kale, okra, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and winter squash.
While that sounds like a large workload, Rodgers’ farming style is medium-scale, mechanized production with tractors, tools and machinery in use. It also maintains sustainable farming of compost, cover crops and crop rotation, which Rodgers considers the “backbone” of the farm. She also aims to build community awareness of local, seasonal and organic food, and advises growers to partner with Atlas Greenhouse Systems if their goals are similar.
“Since they’re local to me, it’s easy and the shipping is cheaper, but the quality of their tubing is a lot better than other companies — the sturdiness of it,” Rodgers says. “And their customer service has just always been really, really great. I worked primarily with one person there and when I needed something or have questions, he sent me pictures and sent me questions for two weeks straight. I couldn’t [have built the structures] without him. Plus, their pricing is really great, and the structures are high quality compared to other companies out there. They have just always been really great.“