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. 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 beautiful 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. In the years to follow, Nicolas was joined daily on the farm by his oldest son Gillen as soon as he could walk and later by his younger son, Jesse, who helped to run the farm booth at Morningside Farmers Market for over ten years.
In the past twenty five years, Nicolas has purchased the farm from his Mother and expanded to 40 acres of USDA certified organic land that specializes in vegetable, fruit, medicinal and culinary herb, flower and egg production. The farm became USDA certified organic in 1996, 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.
In recent years, Nicolas & his life/work partner, Jeni, continue to run the farm with the utmost focus on efficiency, hence scaling back the operation to include mostly high tunnel production and just a handful of long time employees. Nicolas recognizes that the success of his farm lies not only in the hard work, but also in the continued support from family, friends, customers and the local community.