Popular farmer’s lease doesn’t expect to be renewed

Popular farmer’s lease doesn’t expect to be renewed
Ryan “Farmer Leo” Goldsmith isn’t expecting the lease on land where he started his organic farm and farm stand to be renewed. He’s started to look for new land and opportunities to continue his farming in Encinitas. File photo

ENCINITAS — The less than two-acre farm has sprouted more than just organic produce for local restaurants and anyone shopping the city’s farmers markets.

Farmer Leo’s, the farm on El Camino Real and run by Ryan “Farmer Leo” Goldsmith, has hosted dinners in the garden, become a hub for community-sourced agriculture and — just recently — been a spot for singles to mix and mingle.

For more than a year, Goldsmith has leased the grounds he’s been tilling, knowing that the land would eventually be sold. It was just a question of when, he said.

By this fall, Goldsmith said he would know more about the plans for the land and his lease situation, though he doesn’t anticipate renewing.

Now Goldsmith is seeking out other land options and opportunities, hopefully, he said, within Encinitas’ city limits, where he lives.

“I feel hopeful and I’m looking at all types of options, of purchasing land and of leasing land and of working within existing organizations that have farming going on,” Goldsmith said.

Those existing organizations in the city that have farming going on include the Leichtag Foundation on Saxony Road and the Encinitas Union School District’s farm lab project on Quail Gardens Drive.

Though Goldsmith said any talks with those organizations are only in the very “initial phase” to see what is available.

Ideally, what he’s looking for is a flat plot of land that has been previously farmed and has a reliable water source.

Goldsmith had leased land for a farm in Leucadia next to Bar Leucadia. At that site and his current one he had to do a lot of work to improve the soils.

“That’s the starting point of any growing operation,” he said. “I’m good at it now. I’ve experienced it multiple times and being in the city like we are in Encinitas, there’s a lot of resources in terms of being able to build compost and build soil structure,” said Goldsmith.

“There is an agricultural community here in Encinitas, and we support each other, and I definitely feel hopeful that something will turn up and we’ll be able to continue providing the community with that much needed resource of fresh food,” said Goldsmith.

Farmer Leo’s is at 1920 S. El Camino Real. Visit them online at farmerleo.com.

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