In the last century, Flamig Farm has survived unimaginable changings in agriculture and industry. Having evolved with changes in technology, farming and the development of the town, it remains a beacon in the community.
Opened in 1907, Nevin Flamig is the fourth generation in his family to run the farm; he works with his wife and son to develop educational programs for families, helping people consider how they can live more harmoniously with nature here on Mother Earth. This includes lessons, demonstrations and displays about local food production, energy production, health and wellness and community well-being.
“One part of our history often comes up when people wonder about the big backwards EGGS sign on our barn,” laughed Flamig. “Years ago,
an artist friend of ours told us he wanted to put something on the end of our chicken barn. That sounded interesting but we were really too busy at the time to pay much attention to what he was doing, and before long he invited us to the Farm workshop to show us what he had created. We found 4 huge 8 foot tall letters that said EGGS. We knew zoning would not let us put up an advertising sign that big. Finally someone said, “Let’s put it up backward and call it “ART.” And so we did. Zoning did come out but they must have agreed it was art, and the sign has been there ever since.”
Today, the farm is a fun place for families to explore, and while they do sell their own eggs, the farm’s production is no longer on producing food for the community.
“I take my clues from the universe,” said Flamig, a smile winking in his eyes. “We did a study and saw that economically, growing organic food- veggies, chickens, and meat- was not sustainable. Over the winter, my daughter was in ballet class. I was thinking about my next step, and I overheard two moms talking about where they were going to send their kids to summer camp. Now, nearly 30 years later, we have grown education into our primary goal. My wife Julie has been instrumental in the evolution of the programs.”
This step towards educating people about sustainability and farming was a natural one for Flamig, even if he did stumble into this business model by accident.
After graduating from high school in 1969, Flamig attended college locally at Southern Connecticut State College rather than serving in Vietnam. After
discovering the environmental science department, Flamig was sure of his passion. He began teaching, and earned a master’s degree, swearing that he would never leave environmental science for the farm.
“Eventually, I had to face the fact that
the universe wanted me on the farm,”
he shrugged. “I’ve never regretted my decision. My role is to show people critters, and teach people where food comes from.”
While this mission is seemingly simplistic, it has a tremendous impact on the community. Children and families learn about the importance of eating organic food, and using organic products. Flamig has combined his passion for environmental science and his family’s legacy of farming.
“In summer camp- I could cry- watch- ing the kids learn things, and the revelations in their eyes, that tickles me pink,” said Flamig, emotion washing over him. “Throughout the years, I also found ways promote environmental stuff. In the past, I’ve made my own biodiesel, and I owned one of the first electric cars ever made. We do solar panels, and I did organic vegetables for years and years. We have 500 chickens growning eggs, and I feel like less than a farmer than I did when we were growing vegetables on our 10 acres. I would so much rather educate kids than grow zucchini!”
The lessons Flamig and his family farm share with visitors lasts longer than a basket of vegetables. Children learn important lessons about hard work, responsibility, the life cycle and how they are connected to the environment. These lessons last a lifetime, and change the way that people live their lives, and help them understand the world around them more. Flamig might be too humble to say so himself, but the truth is, he is honoring his family’s legacy each day and is a valued resident of Simsbury, the town he calls home.