Eco Farm
Cindy Econopouly and John Dennis Soehner
2501 Butler Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Food for Living
Food for Thought


Eco Farm History

John and Cindy did not originally enter the Carrboro Farmers' Market as farmers. In 1994, Cindy joined as an artist creating fabric appliques for her customers of their houses and of their pets. Then she added spearmint to her table since their land has a field of spearmint, and then she added some of the many tomatoes she grew in the ample garden John had plowed for her. Cindy had grown up with gardening; her father, a school teacher, had raised apples, pears, peaches, and many other fruits, and her mother grew some garden vegetables. Their family was strongly influenced by living in Greece in the early Seventies, frequenting farmers' markets since supermarkets did not yet exist there.

John had had no gardening experience as a youth. He spent many years working as a machinist in his father's machine shop in Lynbrook, Long Island, and left that job to become a commercial fisherman in the Long Island Sound. John and Cindy were forced to sell their home on Long Island, New York when their town took them to court for keeping a dozen hens (originally a homeschooling project), so they purchased a farm in North Carolina in 1992 and moved their chickens south.

Once in Chapel Hill, John got a job as a carpenter, and Cindy found another homeschooling group for learning and socializing. After they'd been in North Carolina for five weeks, their family was involved in an automobile collision on NC 54 that put their family through years of surgeries and therapies. Afterwards, John went back to college to become an occupational therapy assistant, and then got a job at Murdock Center in Butner. Cindy got a stand at the farmers' market, and also began working part-time as a clerk at Weaver Street Market. John began putting more and more effort into working their land so that he and Cindy could grow more produce to sell; and when he realized the productivity possible in farming, he quit his OTA job, bought a tractor, and became a farmer.

John now manages Eco Farm working with employees and volunteers raising vegetables, fruits, herbs, and livestock; he has become a quality role model, and many of his former workers now have farms of their own. Cindy concentrates on growing flowers, creating artwork, photographs, and books, and feeding the farm crew. Their three offspring, Shane, Nichole, and Willie, all live and work on the farm. More information is available in their book "Photos of an Organic Family Farm: Who We Are, What We Do, and How We Do It".