ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With rising prices at the supermarket and an increasing divide between the consumer and the product on the shelf, Abilene farmer, Clay Coffey of Coffey Farms hopes to bridge the gap and bring sustainability to the Key City.

Clay Coffey gathers eggs from his hens

“There’s a big interest right now in people wanting to learn how to be more sustainable, and as food prices continue to rise, we have to start looking for solutions,” Coffey said.

Coffey Farms has been family-owned for many years. His land, just south of Lake Fort Phantom Hill, was recently approved for rezoning by the Abilene Planning and Zoning board. Coffey told KTAB/KRBC he’s looking to establish a grocery store, meat market, and interestingly enough, a coffee shop.

“The best way to know what you’re eating is to know your farmer’s first name,” advised Coffey.

Coffey’s plans for the land go beyond mere retail, though. He said he’s selling a way of life alongside his local produce.

“Within just a couple generations, the skills that our forefathers had,” Coffey began, “have vanished.”

At Coffey Farms, this farmer said he will be offering classes to teach others the sustainable farming and ranching skills he’s practiced for the past six years, in hopes to give others a path to self-reliance, which he said, has improved his own life.

“Most people that are looking to start business and things like that don’t want to try and encourage others to do the same,” shared Coffey. “But I do want to encourage others to do the same.”

Coffey told KTAB/KRBC he envisions parents sharing a cup of joe while their children play nearby, then they pick up some locally produced groceries for a healthy home cooked meal.

At Thursday’s Abilene City Council meeting, Coffey said he will go before the council for final approval of his rezoning request. Construction of his business should follow as soon as possible.