About: Farm Story

Leela Robinson: I am filled with gratitude to grow food and restore a springfed ecosystem in Alachua County, North Central Florida. I will manage an organic blueberry U pick starting at the end of May 2024 and hope you will take part. My farmer husband and I established Deep Spring Farm in 2015 with the planting of organically grown rabbiteye blueberry plants.

In 2024, farmer is choosing to divest his capital and transition out of farm ownership (and requested removal from website). It will take creative collaboration for me to keep Deep Spring serving our community. I love this place and community and want to be here the rest of my life. Thank you for your compassion and support in this season of pruning and growth.

Guests are welcome year round, and typically visit the farm during the June blueberry picking season. Crops are grown using organic practices and inputs. Given small scale production in compliance with USDA organic regulations, the farm is exempt from organic certification requirements.

Recreation, in addition to agriculture, is what makes Deep Spring Farm a day trip destination. Guests are welcome to explore the 22 acre grounds, have a picnic, take in the views. Deep Spring Pond is the body of water closest to CR 1491. There is a platform and picnic tables. The trail around the 1.5 acre 30′-35′ deep pond is a pleasant hike. Neighborhood wildlife includes squirrels, red shouldered hawks, soft shell turtles, yellow belly slider turtles, great blue heron, little green heron, egrets, anhinga, osprey, swallowtail kites, turkeys, other birds, and plenty of fish in the pond.

The weather is often hot, so cooling off in Deep Spring pond appeals to some. I swim often from April to October. Using the dock is the best way to access the water. When the water is low, walk in from the beach. The water is tannic with visibility to 4 feet depth. Minimize walking on the sandy/muddy bottom to maximize visibility.

Please stay on paths and avoid off trail walking/climbing on sloping pond banks (which continue to take a tremendous amount of time and effort to restore). Thanks for helping keep paths clear by removing fallen branches and Spanish Moss. Buildings and cargo trailers are private. 

Sunrise Pond is on the east side of the farm. It is 2 acres and 10-12 feet deep. It is also springfed, but shallow because it is not a sinkhole pond. Both ponds have extensive restoration work still to do. I love doing it and welcome volunteers. The typical focus is removing invasive plants, such as torpedo grass. I envision a lot more native plants around both ponds and all over the farm and appreciate plant donations. There is always something to experience at the springfed ponds, encompassing 4 acres of surface water total. I completed the Florida Master Naturalist Freshwater Systems Course and am glad to share #floridapondlife with you.

Deep Spring Farm is fortunate by design to be within 30 minutes of a progressive college town (Yay Gainesville!). Being close enough to the ocean for a day trip, enjoying the local music scene, collaborating with local farmers/gardeners, volunteering with local nonprofits, kayaking rivers…there is much to love. This wonderful community reminds me of my home state and college experience in Eugene, Oregon, where I earned a BS in Environmental Planning.

Prior to Deep Spring Farm, I lived with my husband in his rural TN homeplace, 12 miles from the Bonnaroo music festival, where he established an ornamental tree and shrub nursery and grew hydroponic lettuce. We practiced growing organic vegetables, became Certified Master Gardeners, and earned Permaculture Design Certificates.

At Deep Spring, I am deep into crafting a land based springfed lifestyle where environmental conservation and provenance of food are core values. I want to share the experience with you. My long range plan for Deep Spring is to host events and overnight guests, retreat style with yoga (teaching since 1999), massage (I maintain my license), yoga swing, meditation, dance, campfires, music, pond swims, stargazing. The short term focus is on growing crops, building facilities for people, and restoring natural habitat. If you share these passions, let’s connect and grow the farm.

What do you love about north central Florida? What do you need help with? Please tell me about your travels. Talk to me about the good food you are crafting. Thank you for being a friend of the farm. You are my farmily! Leela Robinson

Contra Dancing
WHITE SPRINGS, FLA. 5/26/17-Beginners Contra Dance with Vicki Morrison calling and music by Jackson Creek at the Heritage Stage, Friday during the Florida Folk Festival Friday at Stephen Foster State Park. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO