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Farmers Market: Serotiny Farms grows veggies, herbs as an act of rebirth

Alix Midgely of Serotiny Farms sells vegetables, plant starts and flowers at the Durango Farmers Market. As with many vendors, her greens disappear very quickly after the market begins. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)
Former social worker includes ‘pay as you can’ system for produce at market

For Serotiny Farms’ Alix Midgley, becoming a farmer was a form of rebirth.

The farmer turned to agriculture as a second career after 12 years as a social worker dealing with homelessness.

“I’m excited to get back to the earth and heal a little bit from that experience and connect with the community in a little bit of a different way,” she said.

Midgley said that while she was a social worker, she had the opportunity to volunteer for and then work at Banga’s Farm in Mancos.

“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “It was like a part of my being that had never really been engaged before. I’m a first generation farmer, so I’ve just done everything that I could over the last eight years or so to make this a reality for myself. I took the master gardener program here in La Plata County, and then took a backyard farming program, and did everything I could to save money so I would be able to have my own little piece of land.”

That land, also in Mancos, is where she grows the vegetables, flowers, and culinary and medicinal herbs she brings to the Durango Farmers Market.

In her first season at the market, Midgley said her greens have proved to be popular, as have plant starts.

“I’ve had a lot of success with medicinal herb starts people are really interested in being able to craft their own medicinal teas and that sort of thing,” she said. “I’m in the process of doing some dehydrating and hope to bring some tea blends this fall.”

As flowers come in, she will also have bouquets to sell.

The name of Midgley’s farm, “Serotiny,” is a botanical term that refers to a seed that requires some kind of environmental trigger in order to germinate, the most common of which is fire, she said. She chose it because it summarizes her life experiences.

“It’s about going through challenges and what rebirth looks like and what beautiful things can come from fire,” she said.

Even at the farmers market, Midgley endeavors to better society. Because not everyone can afford to pay market price for food, her booth features a “pay what you can” basket with produce that can be bought on a sliding scale and which charitable market-goers can pay toward.

ngonzales@durangoherald.com