DBT40 Honoree: Evan Bartle
Title: Chief Growing Officer
Workplace: Second Chances Farm
Evan Bartle knows a thing or two about growth – personal, professional, and botanical. The Chief Growing Officer at Second Chances Farm, Bartle helps manage the daily growing and harvesting of the farm’s crops, mainly leafy greens and herbs.
The farm exclusively hires formerly incarcerated people with the goal of reducing recidivism rates by giving its employees a second chance at a fruitful life. The business also seeks to infuse more fresh and healthy food into the disenfranchised food desserts of Delaware and beyond.
The farm began its first-ever crop harvest on March 16, but a day later they had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurants and chefs who comprised their initial clientele were no longer able to buy their produce as those businesses were forced to close their own doors.
Faced with a choice of whether to shut their doors until coronavirus restrictions were lifted, or to go straight to the customer, Second Chances chose the latter and launched their “Farm to Table Delivery Program.” Within a few weeks, Bartle helped fill orders for 250 subscribers who signed up to receive weekly packages of greens and herbs.
Bartle is no stranger to the business pivot. Before coming to Second Chances Farm, Bartle worked in the audio-visual technology department of an event company in Austin, Texas. But with no professional farming experience — he had only gardened as a hobby — Bartle became the farm’s chief growing officer and has grown in the role.
Since then, Bartle has sought ways to give back to the community, like teaching 15 elementary school children at Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington to cook in summer 2019 and helping in a container growing program at the Teen Warehouse in the city’s Riverside community.
Second Chances also recently began a web series about healthy cooking, featuring local chefs cooking recipes with ingredients from the farm.
Bartle has been entrepreneurially minded since he started his first two businesses at 14 years old: a car detailing company and an eBay sales business.