Malaika fell in love with farming in high school; her spot on the "competitive" gardening team was where she got her first taste of fresh veggies and working with her hands. From there, Malaika apprenticed on organic vegetable and dairy farms in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
Malaika studied sustainable agriculture at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where she learned the minutia of plants and soil and how to keep bees.
Click to Scroll Right: Photos from Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peaked Mountain Farm VT, Howell Living History Farm NJ, and the Hampshire Farm Center.
Her most formative apprenticeships were at The CSG at Genesis Farm where she met Amanda Midkiff as a fellow apprentice, and Gravity Hill Farm where she put down roots for the future. It was on these farms she fell in love with growing vegetables. See The Mission
Click to Scroll Left: Scenes from working at the CSG at Genesis Farm and Gravity Hill Farm
After graduating college, Amanda and Malaika found each other again and managed The Journey's End CSA in Sterling, Pennsylvania, a 2 acre market farm. After 2 years of farming by hand in little garden plots of this mountain farm, Malaika was ready for a bigger tractor and one large field to call her own.
Click to Scroll Left: scenes from managing the Journey's End CSA
In 2013, Malaika was looking for land in Bucks County near her childhood home. Her old friend and fellow farmer, Natalie, and her husband Josh were buying a farm in New Hope. It was here Roots to River Farm and Blossom Hill Flowers were born. See The 2013 Season
Malaika, joined once again by Amanda Midkiff started the farm that is now Roots to River. (click to scroll left)
The farm is now it's own living entity and people of amazing talents, big hearts and strong backs grace the land every season.
See The Team
the love story
One afternoon in 2014, while Malaika was on the tractor she was approached by a neighbor wanting to introduce a new chef to the farm. Ian Knauer lived down the street and was trying to start a cooking school. He dropped off a copy of his cookbook, The Farm, and asked if he could glean hot peppers left in the field before the frost. This is the kind of chef a farmer loves to meet.
Ian joined the winter CSA and started buying vegetables for the up-and-running Farm Cooking School. It wasn't long before Ian and Malaika fell in love and a perfect partnership was created.
In the summer of 2016, Malaika's old connections at Gravity Hill Farm came back in the form of a lease agreement. The owners of Gravity Hill, after 10 years of managing the market farm, were ready to lease the land to younger farmer. They offered the farm with all its equipment, fields, market space and commercial kitchen so that Malaika could expand her business.
Malaika and her crew of amazing farmers now grow vegetables on both leased properties straddling the river from New Hope to Titusville. They are excited to have a public space for customers to interact with the farm and see where their food is grown. Ian and his business partner, Shelley Wiseman took over the kitchen at Gravity Hill and now collaborate with the farm to make delicious food with the students of the Farm Cooking School.
On the new property, The Farm Cooking School, Roots to River Farm, Amanda's Locust Light Farm, and Blossom Hill Flowers have all teamed up to offer an incredible community space for cooking classes, farm-to-table dinners, medicinal herb products and workshops, organic vegetable CSA shares and a weekly farmer's market with organic veggies, pick-your-own, grass-fed local meats and wood-fired pizza.