OEFFA Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Pam Mack of L Marie Ltd

Originally published in the Spring 2024 edition of the OEFFA newsletter.

Years ago, Pam Mack began a heartfelt mission to pay tribute to her late daughter: to grow and provide healthy, organic vegetables for everyone. L Marie Ltd is an organic farming company that prioritizes promoting the well-being of the current generation while ensuring sustainability for future generations.

Located in Richland County, the farm covers five acres, with approximately half of the land dedicated to cultivating an extensive variety of vegetables. This includes collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, onions, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beets, zucchini, okra, cucumbers, bush beans, and more. The farm features 40 100-foot rows and 19 raised beds to accommodate the diverse range of crops.

An innovative approach to sustainable farming is evident in the design of the farm. For instance, a greenhouse with a concrete floor effectively eliminates the need for a traditional furnace during the late winter and early spring months. Additionally, the farm utilizes a seasonal high tunnel, which allows Pam to further diversify her offerings by expanding into the cultivation of flowers, a passion she inherited from her mother.

The Winding Road to Farming

Pam grew up in a non-farming household, but her parents, who were from the South, maintained a flourishing garden of their own. Pam’s childhood home boasted a variety of fruits including grapes, apples, pears, cherries, blackberries, and a quince tree. Her mother was skilled at canning and nurturing houseplants and flowers. Pam carried these skills with her even after leaving home, continuing to engage in small-scale production and canning for her own family.

Pam didn’t pursue farming as her career until her retirement in 2013. Tragically, her daughter passed away in 2006 due to lupus, a disease that runs in her family. Although there’s no cure for this autoimmune condition, maintaining a healthy diet with abundant vegetables and fruits can positively impact one’s health. Pam is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle in light of her family’s experience with lupus.

Paving the Way for the Next Generation…

After the loss of her daughter, Pam embarked on a journey to plan for her life after retirement. Even before reaching retirement age, L Marie Ltd was certified organic by OEFFA in 2012. Pam dedicated herself to learning about organic practices, often seeking guidance from her Amish neighbors on natural living and organic growing practices.

Pam emphasized the importance of gaining experience before venturing out on one’s own. In line with her advice, Pam has become a mentor in the Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) with OEFFA. This program, initiated by the USDA, connects transitioning and organic producers with mentors and valuable resources. As part of the program, Pam will host a mentee at her own farm, visit their farm, and engage in workshops, field days, and educational events. To learn more about the TOPP program, visit oeffa.org/topp.

… Amidst a Changing Climate

As we strolled through the rows of Pam’s farm, the earth squelched beneath our feet, reminding us of the recent rain. Pam pointed out the various challenges that climate change has brought to farming. She explained how the raised beds had become essential to counter the effects of the waterlogged soil, making springtime planting a more daunting task. She also mentioned the need to transition to new varieties of certain vegetables that are better suited to the evolving growing conditions.

In February, Pam played a pivotal role at the OEFFA conference, focusing on climate considerations. She led a workshop titled “Fostering Best Practices for Plant and Soil Health Management While Adapting to Current and Future Climate Challenge” to extend support to both current and aspiring farmers.

Pam emphasized the significance of comprehending the intricate relationship between soil and plants. “The root, the soil, and the soil organisms are all combined, with the plant in the driver’s seat,” she said.

Ushering in More Organic Producers of Color

During the conference, there was a casual mention of Pam being the sole African American woman certified organic in Ohio. Pam expressed her desire for more diversity in the industry, stating, “I don’t want to be the only one.”

Pam pointed out several challenges that people of color and beginning farmers face when seeking organic certification. She explained that urban farmers often lack the necessary space to grow produce on a large scale and may struggle with the financial burden of certification fees.

Where to Find L Marie Ltd

You’ll find L Marie Ltd at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, 3335 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio, every Saturday morning during the summer months.


Are you an OEFFA member with a food or farm story to share? Contact newsletter@oeffa.org for a chance to be featured!

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Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
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