Having grown up in Austria and currently living in Belgium, Helen Dumba made the decision to move to the United States in 1984. She sold her health food store in Belgium and purchased 175 acres in Newborn, GA. Her 4 teenage children eventually joined her in the States. Because of her enthusiasm for organic food, Helen immediately began cultivating the land to grow food for her family. While gardening, she began to find that the soil was abundant in quartz crystals, and so a name and a farm is born…. Crystal Organic Farm. As her garden produced more than enough food to nourish her family, Helen began selling the organic produce to Sevananda Food Co-Op and other retailers in the Atlanta area.
In the meantime, Helen’s son, Nicolas Donck, is finishing up an International Business Degree at the University of Georgia. Setting out into the corporate world in his suit and tie, Nicolas soon realized that this was not the path for him. After a bit of introspection, he discovered that his calling was from the soil, and so Nicolas returned home to the family land in Newborn, GA. A name was needed for the farm, so his sister Isabelle suggested Crystal Organic Farm for the abundance of quartz crystals found in the soil. And so, in 1994, as Nicolas began working the small area of land started by Helen, a name and a farm is born. He was soon joined by his then wife, Madeline, and later their two sons, Gillen and Jesse, as soon as they could walk.
In the past twenty three years, Nicolas has purchased the farm and expanded to 40 acres of USDA certified organic land that specializes in vegetable, fruit, flower and egg production. The farm became USDA certified organic in 1986, making it one of the oldest certified organic farms in the Southeast. In 2008, Helen and Nicolas received the Land Stewardship Award from Georgia Organics, which honors an individual or individuals who have contributed greatly towards the organic agriculture movement in Georgia.
Nicolas is a founding member and anchor vendor of Morningside Farmer’s Market which has been serving the Atlanta area for over twenty years as the only certified organic market in the city. Crystal Organic Farm currently supplies many of the top restaurants and retailers in the Atlanta Metro area. In addition, the farm has an ever expanding Farm Box program supplying organic produce to the local community. The farm is very committed to giving back to the community, so any excess food is donated to Second Helpings, a non-profit food rescue organization dedicated to fighting food insecurity and food waste in metro Atlanta.
Nicolas recognizes that he could not have accomplished all of these things without the love and support of his family, friends and long time employees, several of whom have been with him 10+ years. You will frequently find his two sons, Gillen and Jesse, working on the farm along with his girlfriend, Jeni. At eighty years old, Helen continues to make numerous valuable contributions to the farm.