Before you go any further, you need to ask yourself is this REALLY what you want to do? If you answered yes, then here are our top 3 resources for becoming a market gardener. Farming has taken a new look in recent years and it seems to have become the “hip” thing to do especially among the younger generation.
We are realizing as a country, that we want to eat real food, from our own communities. Things like roasted root vegetable, salads fresh from the gardens, hot from the oven rolls and steaming apple pies with homemade ice cream. We want to have the ability to talk to our farmers, get to know them and purchase these things from them. Our communities are seeing a real need for locally grown meat, we want to know these critters were well taken care of, they got good local food, plenty of fresh air and sunshine. We want to know that they only had one bad day and we want to know our farmers.
This year will be our first year at market farming on the Clucking It Up Farmstead. Why are we doing it? What was our goal? Are we crazy?
Why? We realized there was an outstanding need in our community for fresh local food. Things like fresh vegetables, fresh farm raised meat, and of course cookies and breads to die for.
What?Over time our goals have evolved from wanting to “live off the land” so to speak, to creating a life for ourselves and our families, to where it is now. Now, our goal is to feed the people, create a legacy for our children (who are all grown now), and give them something that is truly satisfying to the soul. We want to see our grandchildren run through the field, stop and pick a carrot, chase the chickens, pet the pig, and sit in the rocking chairs on the porch to read a story.
Crazy? To answer the last question that I have to ask myself regularly….yes, we are crazy!
How did we finally decide this is what we wanted to do? We kind of drifted down this path and then took a right on that path, another right at that trail, and eventually stumbled upon our current direction – market gardening – to feed the people.
What have been our top 3 resources for becoming a market gardener?
- Probably our greatest resource has been our own local community, our own local farmers, our connections to people who want real food. Best advice I can give you is to start where you are, asking questions. Visit the produce aisle at the local grocery (not Wal-mart). Could you provide better? Talk with your friends, what could you provide them? Find you local farmers, visit the feed store. We also use Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. These are all great communities and groups of people from beginners to experienced growers. Bottom line is, its about a relationship with people. The relationships we’ve built with local farmers, producers and growers is our most prized resource. The relationships we have built with our customers and consumers show us what we need to grow or do better. Our social media relationships teach us different ways to accomplish the same end result.
- The second greatest resource we have discovered has been YouTube. I know it sounds ridiculous, we want to be farmers right… YouTube is a fantastic resource. We’ve discovered farmers that are all moving along the same pathway. Some that are much further ahead of us and some that are still figuring out where they want to go. Some of the people we follow regularly are, Eliot Coleman, JM Fortier, Curtis Stone, Conor Crickmore, Joel Salatin, and Justin Rhodes. Take a look and see what these guys are doing. Each of their approaches are a little different just as their stories why.
- The third on our list of the top 3 resources for becoming a market gardener, is education! Educate, educate, educate! Learn, learn, learn! Read, read, read! We have learned so much from books! Visit your local library. We started with a Joel Salatin book on loan from a friend – You Can Farm. It changed my life! Next year, I will be able to meet Mr. Salatin at the 2019 Utah Farm Conference. After reading his book, I’ve read a few others of his specifically. The next books that really led us on the path we’re on now is JM Fortier’s; The Market Gardner (which we also got from a friend and now have on Audible). His book really hit home that we could actually pull this farming thing off. Then I got a hold of Curtis Stone’s book, The Urban Farmer. The final brick in the wall was the opportunity to meet the master of market gardening, Mr. Eliot Coleman. He has done tremendous things in starting this “movement” towards market gardening. We have 2 of his books, The Winter Harvest and The New Organic Grower.
To break it down a little further, our top 3 resources for becoming a market gardener are:
- Relationships; with community, fellow farmers, customers and consumers
- YouTube; an endless supply of information
- Education; never quit learning, reading or studying
Now, go out there and feed the people or at least make a plan to.