Pamela placed an ad for help with her organic garden, Allison answered it. One year later, they founded CoLab Farms together.
“I have a large garden area at my home and really needed someone knowledgeable and passionate about growing healthy, fresh food,” said CoLab Farms co-founder Pamela Alexander.
CoLab co-founder Allison Linn was looking to expand her native landscape and honeybee business into organic vegetable gardening after graduating UF/IFAS Master Gardener program and responded to Pamela’s ad in search of a vegetable gardener.
Allison and Pamela started working together on Pamela’s vegetable garden regularly and realized how many shared interests they have.
“Pam and I share the same passion for growing food in a responsible, sustainable manner. We both love creating meals and products from scratch and learning new techniques in both farming and in the kitchen,” Allison said.
After working together on Pamela’s organic garden for about a year, they had the opportunity to take over an aeroponics farm.
“We couldn’t resist,” explained Pamela. “Plus, it gave us a really good reason to get a tractor!”
And so, CoLab Farms was born!
“The 5-acre farm was the perfect size to start with; not too big and overwhelming but with room to grow — literally,” Pamela explained.
“Pam and I share the same passion for growing food in a responsible, sustainable manner. We both love creating meals and products from scratch and learning new techniques in both farming and in the kitchen.”
And grown it has!
Since founding CoLab Farms, Allison and Pamela have expanded their farming practices to beyond the aeroponics towers and are seeking out farming innovations to find the most sustainable way to grow delicious, fresh food.
“It has been great and crazy and hard and a constant learning experience,” explained Pamela. “Growing fresh, healthy, clean food isn't easy but it is worth every ounce of effort!”
Isn’t easy is right: Before they founded CoLab Farms, the Indiantown property sat for two years, leaving plenty of cleaning and clearing that had to be done before Pamela and Allison could even start growing anything! They also had to become familiar with a new aeroponics growing system and figure out the irrigation, pump and reverse osmosis water systems along with it.
While the magnitude of the work has increased, not much else has changed according to Allison.
“I guess I still think of myself as a gardener. I’m still working with plants and pollinators everyday just on a much larger scale,” she said. “I can grow food and produce quality products that I am proud to take to market on a scale I never imagined.”
Out of everything, their favorite thing they’ve grown since founding CoLab Farms is relationships. In the industry:
“I’ve really enjoyed collaborating and partnering with industry professionals. Sharing strengths in order to accomplish goals really works!” Allison said. “Farming people rock,” Pamela added.
And with each other.
“Pamela and I divide and conquer and share what we learn and how to apply it to CoLab,” Allison said. “We have a great combination of passion and unique skills that make this so rewarding and fun to work together.”
Resulting in nothing but good days at CoLab Farms.
“I am so lucky to have Allison as a business partner and as Farm Manager,” Pamela said. “We are both so passionate about the farm that even on days everything seems to go wrong we can find something to get excited about and keep moving forward. We have an endless list of things we want to do and that helps us stay positive.”
CoLab's journey has guided Pamela and Allison to their ultimate destination: an innovative and educational property that yields delicious and fresh produce sustainably.