San Diego

Nearly Century-Old Vista Farm Turns to Online Crowdfunding for Help

A North County couple is using modern-day technology to save an old-time farm in Vista.

Couple Berry Farms, a nearly century-old farm in Vista, is up for sale as longtime owners, the Johnsons, relocate out of state.

Rich and April Viles, current owners of a farm in Encinitas, want to purchase the property and maintain the space as a family-friendly environment free from the outside world.

"We’re trying to save this farm because all of the small farms that we took our kids to, they’re all gone. They’re all getting moved farther east, and we’re losing that sense of community, of what it was like to just take your family to a farm for a couple hours," April Viles said. 

But the couple says they are being outbid by developers who want the "land divided into parcels and developed on."

To keep the property a traditional farm that is free and open to the public, the couple has turned for help in the digital world. 

"In a world where technology is everywhere it is good to maintain a timeless place for families to gather, taste the good ol' days, pet a pig, and meet the hands that produce their food," new farm owners, Rich and April Viles wrote on a GoFundMe page created to help keep the farm alive. 

The farm is filled with goats, chickens and pigs, but what they're known for is their berries.

"They get to slow down and just have a day on the farm," April Viles said. They get to pet a pig, hold chickens, see what a farm life is like."

The family says they want to renovate the property to add new features but maintain the historic charm of the farm. 

The current owner of Couple Berry Farms, Butch Johnson, is hopeful that the Viles will come up with the funds. 

"I don't think we could've found a better match. For what we're doing here and the plans that they have for the place, and it just puts me at rest that it's going to continue to be farmed and it's going to continue to have the community come and visit," Johnson said. 

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