“This experience felt very unique because it was deeply authentic. They were walking the ranch with the rancher. They were eating food that was not only grown onsite, but then also sourced from the cheesemakers, the oyster farms, the beekeepers, and they were even meeting those producers.”
We’re in great company with David Rust, Founder and CEO of SAGRA, a new collection of curated individual Farm Stays and experiential Farm Retreats in partnership with regenerative farms across the US where guests have the opportunity to connect with each other, the sources of our food, and the people who thoughtfully grow it.
Whether staying in a quaint private home on a dairy farm, taking a glamping adventure on the coast of a shellfish estuary, or savoring fully-serviced accommodations amongst seasonal produce, the SAGRA experience is the perfect home base for a day of exploration on the farm, unwinding in a serene natural setting, visiting nearby sights and shops, tasting the freshest food, and connecting with the people who passionately produce it.
In this episode, David shares how an interest since childhood led to a passion for a new business concept and activism in a community looking to make farming more relatable and accessible as we look forward to a new food future.
[1:40] How growing up visiting his extended family’s farm in Germany and agriturismo in Italy turned into a passion for farming and understanding farm culture in his adult life, even while pursuing different careers across different cities.
[7:00] It was both a slow progression and a special moment in time that brought David and his co-founders to create and actively pursue the concept of SAGRA.
[11:10] “Get your hands dirty, or don’t.” David shares more about his mission in making agriculture accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of interest or experience.
[13:40] A look back to the beginnings of SAGRA in 2019 when David joined forces with the family behind Stemple Creek Ranch, a regenerative rotational grazing cattle ranch in Northern California, to prototype and practice this agricultural hospitality experience before opening an east coast experience, Hill Farm in Vermont.
[17:20] How SAGRA is part of a broader food and farm community, “Whether it’s Dan Barber or Alice Waters, they’re deeply passionate about telling a story, whether through cooking food, making a restaurant, or in our case allowing you to book a stay.”
[20:10] The meaning behind “SAGRA,” an Italian word for a harvest festival, a celebration of food and community.
[24:45] David explains how “hope and active optimism are powerful tools for change”, both for regenerative farmers and their guests who seek out to experience and learn more about those better ways.
[31:20] Meet the 4 Farm Stays joining the SAGRA family this fall: Studio Hill in Shaftsbury, VT, Reverence Farms in Saxapahaw, NC, Silver Penny Farm in Petaluma, CA and Zuma Canyon Orchids in Malibu, CA.
[42:20] What David and his team at SAGRA are looking for in future Farm Stay locations, experiences, and types of farms, sharing their stories and supporting their businesses by broadening awareness and appreciation, one stay at a time.