Diggers’ Mirth Collective takes its name from a radical agrarian movement that flourished briefly in England in the late 1640s and early 1650s, when a laborer named Gerrard Winstanley published a series of tracts challenging private property rights and arguing that “the earth. . . [was created] as a common storehouse for all.” The Diggers put their beliefs into practice by manuring fields and sowing crops on wastelands in Surrey until they were driven away by local landowners.
At the Intervale, Diggers’ Mirth Collective was founded in 1992 by Dylan Zeitlyn and three other partners. A total of 11 young farmers have been part of the collective over the years. The group has been farming together for six seasons, and they say they’re pleased with their current balance of skills and personalities. The five friends and partners all work the same number of hours, earn the same amount of money, and arrive at all production and marketing decisions jointly.
Diggers’ Mirth manages 10 acres of Intervale land, putting half in cover crops each year to build organic matter and restore fertility and dedicating the balance to production. In addition to farmers’ markets, they sell to the restaurants American Flatbread (whoo hoo!), Mirabelle’s, and Trattoria Delia, as well as City Market, and Healthy Living. “We’re really lucky in Vermont that the people understand the idea of local versus California,” says De Santis. Ultimately, it comes down to the customer demand that keeps local grocery stores committed to buying from local farmers.
The Diggers can be found at the Burlington Farmers Market every week from Mother’s Day weekend to Halloween weekend, and driving around town all summer delivering to stores and restaurants in their sweet ass delivery truck.
Heirloom vegetables, salad greens, hot peppers for our hot sauce, garlic that we use throughout the winter
Eric Seitz & Molly Conant
Named after their spokes-dog, Pitch, this 2-acre farm at Burlington’s Intervale grows heirloom vegetables and culinary herbs. These farmers run their operation with concentration on simplicity, economy and conservation.
Eric Seitz & Molly Conant are in their third year as an incubator farm down at the intervale. They have expanded their production each year and are planning on increasing their sales to local restaurants, natural food stores and farmers’ markets. They can be found every Saturday between Mothers’ Day and Halloween at the Burlington Farmers’ Market.