Labovitz Farm, the Jewish Way
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Labovitz Farm, the Jewish Way

Laura Labovitz and Shawn Bernard run a working farm with many moving parts as they focus on healthy living and educating others.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Laura Labovitz and Shawn Barnard team up to educate and nuture. Goats are front and center, with other animals to learn about.
Laura Labovitz and Shawn Barnard team up to educate and nuture. Goats are front and center, with other animals to learn about.

Atlanta native Laura Labovitz and partner, Shawn Bernard, followed their animal instincts and passion for healthy living to establish Ivy Rose Farm, a small animal farm located just over an hour north of Atlanta in Clermont, Ga.

Their current focus is goat milk, although they also make pepper jelly, featuring peppers grown on the farm, and other products. While they mostly sell milk fresh, they use some to make goat milk soap. They offer educational tours that introduce the animals on site, teaching about their roles on the farm and animal basics.

Visitors can sign up for a tour that goes over all things goat; milk a goat, hang out with any babies while learning about goats, take a goat for a walk around pastures, and woods, and end with tasting the goat milk.

Ivy Rose Farm has a rental “farmstay” with two bedrooms, an office and kitchen on the property.

Labovitz said, “With a small farm, we are always diversifying our products and, so, we also offer herbal products made from plants grown or foraged on the farm. We offer classes on foraging, wild crafting, and more.”

All tours are completely private, but classes are open to the public. Next door to the farm, they have a farmstay cottage available for rent. Included in the cost of the rental, guests can help milk a goat, feed animals, and more. As extras, guests can sign up to fish in the pond.

Labovitz earned a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology from the University of Colorado, then graduated the University of Denver with a master’s in social work with a focus on animal assisted therapy. When Labovitz lived in Colorado, she started on the path of natural living and a healthier diet because of her interest in dog and horse nutrition.

This led to her to moving to the Boulder foothills on an awe-inspiring property with 60 acres of mountain terrain, room for animals, and large gardens. Concurrently, she was working on changing her diet due to health issues, thus the access to fresh, clean food was a big part of her motivation to farm.

Farm tours are packed with interaction, fun and can include on-site fishing.

An Epstein School grad, Labovitz ties in religion. She said, “Although we don’t farm specifically using Jewish traditions and religious ideas, my Jewish education influenced much of my way of farming. Many of our practices actually do follow Jewish tradition naturally, such as feeding the animals before feeding ourselves in the morning. We are active in the Jewish Farmer Network, created to bring Jewish farmers together to share knowledge, build community, and to advocate for Jewish farmers all around the world. I have begun to study more about Jewish farming practices, particularly Jewish herbalism. We hope to offer more Jewish-related classes, Shabbat dinners, and to deepen the local Jewish community’s connection to the agricultural roots that exist in the Jewish history.”

The farm currently features a variety of animals. In addition to goats, they have chickens, ducks, a llama, horses, donkeys, sheep, dogs, and cats. The property is 32 acres, with a natural spring-fed pond and Wauka Mountains in the backyard. The raw goat milk is Certified Naturally Grown, which means they farm using only organic methods, no synthetics. The milk is available through a local online market, Northeast Georgia Locally Grown, or direct from the farm by appointment. They make deliveries to Sandy Springs when travels bring them there to visit family. Their pepper jelly is currently available at the farm or when displaying at farmer’s markets.

Among the healthy products Ivy Rose Farm sells is pine salve.

They are working on several ongoing projects that will expand the operation. Since Labovitz’s background is in animal assisted therapy, she hopes to be able to provide a space for therapists to utilize the farm in therapy practices. The new developments should also enable hosting more events and classes.

Ivy Rose Farm, in Clermont, Ga., is owned by an Epstein School graduate.

The farm is named after Labovitz’s “heart dog,” Ivy Rose, who passed away in 2019. When trying to determine a farm name, she said, “No matter if we moved, the name would be meaningful and could travel with us.”

Laura is the daughter of Sheri and Steve Labovitz. Ya’ll come and “Baaaahhh” with Laura and Shawn.

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