Adam Nordell and Johanna Davis own and operate Songbird Farm together on a beautiful hilltop farm in Unity, Maine. With ample rich land the couple got interested in small scale grain production, something that sets them apart from other mixed vegetable farms.
Originally from the coastal town of Round Pond, Johanna grew up playing in the woods and streams and helping out with a large family vegetable garden, goats and chickens. After high school, she worked for a season on a start- up sheep milk dairy farm in Whitefield. From there she went to apprentice at The Carpenter's Boatshop - a traditional wooden boat building school. After 9 months of woodworking, Johanna stayed on and co-ran the large subsistence garden the school had to feed the crew. After traveling around the country for a while, she ended up on a small island off the northern coast of Washington. There, she worked for the summer for Blue Moon Produce, a certified organic diverse vegetable farm.
Adam grew up in the hills south of Helena, MT, where he spent his free time hiking, catching frogs and playing bass guitar. He moved to Maine to attend College of the Atlantic, became interested in organic agriculture and interned on several farms before graduating and moving back to Montana to pursue music. In 2008 Adam & Johanna began their musical collaboration in a grant-funded artists residency in the Montana Artists Refuge, laying the groundwork for their ongoing touring folk music act, Sassafras Stomp.
The couple moved back to Maine in 2010 with the intention of starting a farm of their own. Songbird Farm began on 3/4 of an acre at the Carpenter's Boatshop, where Adam and Johanna paid their rent in vegetables, and on an additional two acres of Hopi Blue corn and heirloom dry beans borrowed from North Whitefield farmer Austin Moore. In 2011, Adam and Johanna moved to Jay Robinson's farm on the Sandy River in Starks, ME, and enrolled in MOFGA's Journeyperson Program, which offers educational resources and mentoring to start-up farmers. During a four year lease on Jay's land, the couple achieved organic certification, grew their wholesale vegetable business, and with the help of several friends, diversified their grain production to include heirloom heritage wheat, rye and buckwheat in addition to Roy's Calais Flint Corn. A successful Indygogo campaign allowed Adam and Johanna to purchase a small stone mill from the Maine Grain Alliance and begin milling their own flours and cornmeal, which helped establish Songbird Farm's Pantry Share CSA as one of the first flour and grain CSAs in Maine.
In 2016, Adam and Johanna signed themselves up for a 30 year mortgage and moved their operation to Unity, ME, transplanting Songbird Farm onto land previously managed by Tim Christensen of Green Earth Gardens. The land purchase was assisted by Maine Farmland Trust. Adam and Johanna also began leasing a portion of the adjoining Richardson Farm, owned by the Sabasticook Regional Land Trust, where they have been expanding their grain production.