Walking aroundthe intensely-worked 40 acres she and her husband, Chris, farm near Punta Gorda, Fla., Eva Worden points out the hundreds of vegetable cultivars they grow, then reflects a bit on her own rather unusual journey to this place.

She grew up in the heart of the big city, Coral Gables, daughter of a medical doctor and an academic administrator in public health who valued education, then got her own Ph.D. from Yale University.

Now, here she is, in her family’s eighth year of farming, concerned day-by-day with soil fertility, seed germination and displays of their produce in farmers markets.

“If this farm had already existed, we would not have created it,” she says. “I view what we’re doing here as part of a larger purpose. If society does not value and understand agriculture, we will not have it in our communities — and I don’t want to live in a community that doesn’t have the potential to feed me, or for me to feed myself.”

Seeing agriculture as vital to how society views itself, the Wordens, in a fairly short period of time, have put their farm front-and-center in their area.

If a freeze or drought threatens, television reporters find their way to the Worden Farm. When the local Lions or Rotary clubs want someone to speak about food, chances are good that Eva will be standing at the podium.

“We try our best to communicate,” she says. “It’s for the benefit of our own farm, and also for agriculture in general and for society.”

They’re organic farmers, which in itself, interests many people these days. But, there’s more to the Wordens than production techniques. One reason they went organic, Eva says, is to show it could be done in Florida.

“Many people say you can’t do organic in Florida,” she says. “There are no hard freezes and too many pest challenges, they say. Well, take a look around this farm. If we can do it here, it can be done in many other places. Every environment has its challenges, and so does Florida. Growing organic best fits with our personal ecological ethic. That’s our reasoning.”

Eva’s doctoral dissertation investigated early efforts at Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Today, she lives it, with three fine-tuned CSA programs on her own farm.

They offer classic box delivery, in which they take boxes of vegetables, greens, root crops, herbs and fruit to be picked up by members at different locations in the area. Their on-farm market-style membership lets people choose which crops they want on designated days at the farm. A farmers market credit program is a prepaid buying program, available at farmers markets fall through spring.

They offer only a limited pick-your-own opportunity restricted to a couple of plots that tend to have things that are a bit unusual and simple to harvest, like edible flowers.

In addition, their products are sold at weekly farmers markets in downtown Sarasota, downtown St. Petersburg, north Naples, and at Fishermen’s Village on the waterfront in Punta Gorda.

Chris, who grew up in Maryland, earned a Ph.D. in plant science from the University of Connecticut. His dissertation was on using food-processing compost for crop production. Put his education together with Eva’s and that’s a pretty good background for their current efforts.