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Growing Farms Podcast
61 minutes | Apr 9, 2020
Pasture Based Farm Thrives During Pandemic
Today on the podcast I am joined by my friend Dave Shields of Pastured Life Farm in North Central Florida. Dave and his wife Ginger have been raising animals on pasture and direct marketing them to customers for years. It just so happens the farming and sales model they set up is perfectly suited to serving their community in a time of need. On today’s farm podcast Dave shares how they got started, why they set up their farm the way they did, and how they have been able to provide healthy food to people while adhering to safety guidelines.
15 minutes | Mar 25, 2020
APPPA - Ginger Shields
John: Hey there friends and fellow farmers. Welcome to another episode of The Growing Farms podcast. I am your host, John Suscovich, and today's episode is going to be an "Ask APPPA" show, the American Pasture and Poultry Producers Association. At one of the annual APPPA conferences I brought my camera, I brought my microphone, I brought my friend Mike, and we recorded interviews with about two dozen people. I asked those two dozen people the same four questions. And the wonderful thing about this community is that our heart, the core mission of what we're trying to do, is build healthy soil and we do that by raising animals on pasture. Now we are all there for the same reason, to learn and grow together, we are all bringing our own level of commitment, our own piece to the puzzle to those annual conferences and that is great. Today's episode is going to be with Ginger Shields of Pastured Life Farm located in North Central Florida and the first question that I asked Ginger was: “What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out? Your advice for the new guy.” Ginger: My name is Ginger Shields, and I am from Pastured Life Farm located in North Central Florida. I wish that I knew - when we began farming -- That it was okay to say no, that it was okay to say "We don't need to produce chickens year round". We didn't need to have beef available 100% of the time. We didn't need to have pork available 100% of the time. It wasn't a sustainable model for a small farm to have everything for everyone all the time. We carried a tremendous amount of burden. Like "We have to produce more, we have to produce more", so we don't have to tell people no and we scaled up faster than what we were ready for. So I really wish that I had known or could go back to my former self and say "It’s okay. You can tell people no. You can explain why we have seasons, why nature has seasons and why we replicate that in our farm model". John: I really love that piece of advice. Something that I have heralded here on Farm Marketing Solutions is the desire, the need, the strategy of pushing consistency in your market. Having chicken available all the time so that when people want chickens you're the go-to person to provide it for them. I thought that was a core fundamental thing to have as part of your farm strategy. You know, especially if you want to get into wholesale accounts. What Ginger highlighted here is that building the model around not only what the customer wants but what you want to do as a farmer is really important for the long-term viability and sustainability of you and your farm. If you're consistent with what you offer, when you offer it, and your messaging is clear, consistent, and concise it will be easy for people to do business with you. That is just a fantastic piece of advice. If you don't like farming, you are not going to stick with it and that's hard. You know? It's like... why stick with something that you don't like to do? Which brings me into my next question. I asked Ginger: What is the most enjoyable part about being a farmer. Ginger: For us, for my husband and I - I am speaking for both of us - I believe that the most enjoyable aspect of farming is that we get to work with people that we like. We get to work with our family, we get to work with our kids, and we get to be together. I am not sending my husband off for his 9-5 job, packing his lunch and he's coming home miserable after spending an hour and a half in traffic, and we're not apart for sixteen hours a day. We're working together. We both want to work on our farm, better our farm, and work with our kids and teach them the values and the morals and things that they can't learn anywhere else but on our farm. John: That was a great answer, Ginger. I really appreciate the feedback; and for me, that also -- You know, I'm just going to say "ditto". The fact is that I’m usually working pretty long hours. But I’m always close by so if my family needs me or wants to come find me they know where I am. I get to work with friends, business partners who are my friends, and I love the staff here at the farm or the brewery -- We just have the most amazing people and that makes the day to day very enjoyable. At times it is a grind. Not every day is a holiday, but the fact that I am a member of APPPA and I have all of those people to turn to, I have a wonderful business here in Western Connecticut; and that my family is around all the time, I can structure my schedule around people instead of work... It's a lot of work hours but I can structure my schedule to be around for dinners, to be around for school send-offs... If there is something that needs to get done in the family, my family always comes first; and the fact that I get to work and live around all these amazing people is why I did this in the first place. Being self-sufficient is kind of a farce. You know? Being out in isolation by yourself is depressing and very difficult because you're not going to be able to do everything by yourself. So to surround yourself with wonderful people - I have that community, I have that connection, and I have that strength. For when I am feeling weak, there is someone there to help prop me up, and when someone else in my community is not feeling 100% I am there to prop them up. There’s been a really good balance through the years. So for me, that has been valuable as well and I appreciate Ginger - your response to that question. Now my next question - because this is Farm Marketing Solutions and that's what the channel and the podcast is all about - I wanted to know, Ginger: What is one of your greatest marketing/farm marketing successes and how did you get there, and then what is one of your biggest struggles - and then what do you do about that? Ginger: For our farm our biggest marketing success has been the ability to put ourselves out there. To become comfortable and confident in what we're doing; thanks to organizations like the American Pasture and Poultry Producers Association we have become confident in our practices, confident that we're bettering our environment, we're bettering the soil, and that the chicken that we're producing is far superior to anything that's available in the grocery stores. Having those tools in our pocket to be able to approach customers, approach people at meetings like at Weston A. Price Chapter meetings, or at a CrossFit gym where we might pop in during a session and talk about our product. We find strength in having those tools, education, and information available for us to share. Also, confidence in our product that we didn't have when we were first starting out. Our biggest marketing struggle has been definitely making the time. Marketing - it's another job! You're a farmer, you're a family, you're a mom, you're a dad... but you're also a marketer and a salesman. You have to make yourself make the time to market your farm. You have to schedule that time into your already busy, crazy life. That's our biggest marketing struggle and our biggest marketing failure. It's our area that we plan to improve on the most for the next few years; is to just work on our marketing. Our markets are changing. Our customers are changing. Our demographics are changing. We have people much younger than us that are having food awakenings - we need to be able to reach them and it's a challenge to keep up with it. John: Now that is a great response because a lot of people get into farming because they're introverted. Being out in the field by yourself, you spend a lot of time alone. A lot of farmers like to grow, fix, nurture, animal husbandry or however you verbalize or verb that, but not all of us are outgoing. It's amazing that you might hear me say that I -- I have recorded 650 or pushing 700 videos now, and I still get uncomfortable when someone else is just watching me record. I am comfortably down here in my basement, talking to a camera alone with my dog asleep on the floor. That is where my comfort zone is, and it has been a journey for me to be comfortable enough to walk into a room and be like "Hey everybody, how are you doing? My name is John Suscovich". That is something that I have worked on over time and being comfortable putting yourself out there, sharing that information... You are passionate about agriculture. Otherwise you are not -- Why are you listening to this podcast or watching this video on YouTube? Because you want to do this. There is a reason why you are committed. You're following Farm Marketing Solutions because you're starting to make a business out of farming or you are looking at a lifestyle change. There is something in you that motivates you. It drives you to get back to the land, to live a healthier lifestyle, to produce food that is nutritious and supports your community, and that is amazing. That passion, that heart, that fire that you feel right here... share that with people! Don't be afraid. And with me, you know... there's a lot of fish in the sea. I give farm tours every weekend. Sometimes my jokes land and sometimes they don't. I have learned to read a room and see how that conversation is going. Putting yourself out there... you do it and you're going to fail sometimes. Then you're going to do it, and you're going to succeed sometimes. You're going to be like "That farmer's market rocked!" or "That conversation that I had with that person really went well!" and when it goes well or if it goes poorly, learn from those circumstances. If it went really well, why did it go well? Because you connected around a certain topic or idea. Is that something that you can reach other people with? If it didn't go well, was it because you misstepped or misspoke or maybe it wasn't the right person? Think about sales as dating. You're not going t
35 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
GFP100: Getting Rid Of Experts
Who are “they” exactly? They told us it can’t be done. They told us you cannot make money farming. They told us you can’t raise sheep without a heavy parasite load. They said you can’t have 0% mortality in the brooder. They said that you have to farm this way or that. I’m not saying that educated people are nonsense. That would be a gross misinterpretation of my point. What I am saying, is that there is an inherent flaw in the human to human interpretation of the scientific method in that variables are often isolated and taken out of context. Sure you can get more grass by adding nitrogen, but is that what you farm needs? And are there other ways to add nitrogen into your soil without paying a chemical company? Today Troy and I discuss what makes an expert. They’re not always right, and they’re not always wrong. They are merely presenting facts based on their research that you as the professional farmer have to take and adapt to your goals, your farm, and your systems. It all goes back to continually asking the question, “why?”
64 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
GFP096: Farming By Not Farming
The most common question we get here at Farm Marketing Solutions is “how do I start a farm?”. That question comes from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Seriously, we’re data nerds and our analytics say we get visitors from over 97 different countries. Because there are 7 billion people in the world inevitably all of our stories and circumstances are going to be different. That is one of the inherent difficulties in agriculture. There is a lot of good information out there on “how to grow stuff” but the real art of farming and being a farmer is adapting that growing information to your specific situation.
30 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
GFP094: Farming Makes Your Purge
It’s a cliche as this point that “farming is hard”. Yeah, we know. Anyone that has tried to work the land knows full well how ruthless Mother Nature can be and how unforgiving the farm can seem at times. What gives me hope for the future is that the current generation of farmers getting into agriculture are bringing with them tools of all kinds. Drones, software, new planting innovations, and the knowledge sharing tool that is the internet. We now have the opportunity to farm in ways that have never been done before.
40 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
GFP093: 2017 Farm Plan
2017 Farm Plan - Camps Road Farm With each new farm season there are adaptations based on what you have learned from previous years as well as adapting to what your goals are for the coming year. We are making some big changes on our farm this year and I am really happy to be able to share them with you through the Growing Farms Podcast. I am using the Farm Marketing Solutions website to take notes this year. I am organizing my thoughts, my research, my production numbers into the Resources section of the website. On the resources page you will find more information on: My farm set-up (complete with map) Broiler chickens Egg layers Pigs Orchard/Fruit ...and in the works are sections on: My equipment Marketing Strategies Writing a farm business plan Whatever you ask me about in the form below Have a question that you can't seem to find an answer for? On the main resources page you'll find a simple form to submit your question to me and I'll create a piece of content around it. You should drive the direction of this website as much as I do, after all, I'm sharing this stuff for you. Growing Farms Podcast "Plan" Going Forward The podcast is back for a while by popular demand. Having taken some time off from podcasting to publish not one, but two books, I'm coming back with simple, straight-forward, and honest podcasts about my farm journey. In a more rapid succession than my usual pace I'll have episodes on the operations listed above. We're going to cover what I'm doing on all areas of the farm so that you have a good idea of where I am at and what I have learned to date. After we're caught up Kate and I are going to do updates throughout the season so you get a taste of farm life, share in our successes and failures, and continue to grow the community. Final Notes It's good to be back. I had a blast recording with Kate for this episode. It's a busy and kind of stressful time on farm right now but at the same time it is really exciting! Thanks for supporting FMS through the years. If you're new here, welcome! Let's all work to grow personally, professionally, and as a community. Thanks for stopping in and until next time I will see you out in the field. Cheers, John
19 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
GFP092: Pigs Escape and Growing Chickens
Chicken Tractor Plans APPPA - American Pastured Poultry Producers Association Feed Testing Pasture Fencing I Use Support the Show on Patreon
22 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
GFP091: Farm Update
This farm podcast episode updates you on my: Pastured Poultry Pastured Pigs Apple Orchard Hop Yard Book release!!!
53 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
GFP089: Pigs on Pasture
Raising pigs has to be one of the most fun things that I do on farm. I truly enjoy almost every part of it. I mean, don't get me wrong, they could smell a little better every once in a while but who can turn their noses up at their floppy ears, curly tails, and curiously happy demeanor? I get my pigs for the season in less than a week. I'm raising 20 pigs this year for various different markets. It's a step up for me. A far cry from big production, but big enough to feed some serious people. I plan to market and sell through: Whole and Half Hog Pig Roast Retail at Famers' Market and Farm Store Restaurants for Beer and Spirits Dinners Resources from this farm podcast: Ethan Book the Beginning Farmer The Beginning Farmer on YouTube Farm Quote of the episode: "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty but the pig will love it..." — Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
39 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
GFP088: My Background
No matter what you've done before you got into farming, it applies. It all applies!!! Granted some of us are going to get into farming full time and run our own farms and others are going to be happy with a backyard garden. The important thing here is that we're all willing to get our hands dirty. I take a small amount of pride in that I've worked hard over the years to make my life interesting. It sounds a little egotistical perhaps, but I'm alright with that, because it's been fun. In past years I've biked across the country, worked with Howard Stern, put on plays, worked as a food photographer, web designer and programmer, and so many other odd things. Through it all I have finally learned one important lesson. That lesson: enjoy the process! Nothing is going to go according to plan and it is certainly not going to happen as quickly as you want it to. And that's OK. If you learn to love the day to day tomorrow will eventually come. Find something you love to do, pursue it, and enjoy "getting there". That was a major hurdle for me to overcome. I still get stressed. I still get down sometimes. But the majority of my time is spent appreciating what I have and wondering how I can make it even better. If I work to make it better, it usually happens, and guess what? It's even better!!! It all sounds so silly to put into words, and a few years I might have even made fun of the guy I've become. But on the other side of my freak out, I feel good, and I'm ready to get my season really moving.
46 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
GFP087: Urban CSA and Apothecary
I have been in love with the idea of more farms appearing in urban settings. That is how we bring food to the masses and help wrangle that ugly beast called food security. Clever uses of otherwise untapped resources. On today's farm podcast episode we visit one of those urban farms to see how it all fits together. Items covered or mentioned on today's farm podcast: Double N Urban Farm Double N on Facebook Farm Marketing Solutions on YouTube Permaculture Voices Conference Farm Quote of the episode: "Don't worry. If plan A fails there are 25 more letters in the alphabet." - Anonymous — Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show. Click to subscrible to iTunes Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
25 minutes | Feb 18, 2020
GFP090: Welcome Back!
Farm Marketing Solutions on YouTube Ask Voices with Diego Footer and Me, John Suscovich Camps Road Farm Kent Falls Brewing Company Neversink Spirits
2 minutes | Jan 8, 2019
Growing Farms Podcast Returns
25 minutes | Feb 3, 2016
GFP086: It Is My Birthday
I'm a day older than I was yesterday, but today I got to use a whole new number. I've made it to 31 and I'm pretty happy about it. In this podcast episode I talk about what my plans are for the farm this year and why they are that way. Then I go over what's happening on Farm Marketing Solutions and content for the year and I ask you for help. Ya see, I cannot do this without you. Talking into the abyss of the internet means nothing if there is no one to listen and interact. That's where you come in. I share some of my thoughts for how I think the podcast should go this year but I would much rather do something that you guys and gals are going to want to hear rather than just guessing and hoping to get it right. That's where the comments section of this post comes into play. Get on there and let me know what you think I should be doing this year for Farm Marketing Solutions. I'm trying to keep it simple so that I can do a little more than I've done in the past, but I don't want it to lose any value to you.
47 minutes | Dec 29, 2015
GFP084: Starting a Farm Crawl
There was a problem that I now had a farm stand, I did a lot of work to make my farm beautiful and accessible, but no one was showing up. How do you get people on your farm without breaking your marketing budget? The answer: Farm Crawl A farm crawl is a one day event where multiple farms in the same area open their doors, hold tours, and cross-market each other to the benefit of all. Customers travel from farm to farm to see what the farms have to offer, get tours, meet the farmers where they work, and become more connected to their food. My farm is off a back road that’s off a back road. There is no such thing as incidental traffic from someone just driving by. I needed to think of something that would draw people to let them know that I was back here. As usual when looking for inspiration I looked to the other farmers that I know. Ethan Book of Crooked Gap Farm has a great podcast where he talks about his farming journey. Some one those episodes mentioned a farm crawl and BOOM, inspired. I borrowed the concept from listening to the Beginning Farmer Show with Ethan to start my own farm crawl. In this episode Ethan and I discuss my new farm crawl, his established farm crawl, and how both of them came to be. In this farm podcast you will learn: How setting up systems will make your life better How to look for efficiencies on your farm How to start your own Farm Crawl My “first world problems” with getting a new computer Interview with Ethan Book of Crooked Gap Farm Ethan Book grew up on a quaint little street in Cedar Falls, Iowa playing with toy tractors on his bedroom floor and pretending to farm with his John Deere pedal tractor in the driveway. Weekends were often spent on his dad’s farm or the farms of his uncles and extended family. As Ethan grew up his dreams of being a farmer faded a little bit, but never truly went away. Ethan has pursued that dream of becoming a farmer and has done a great job of documenting his journey through his blog and podcast over at The Beginning Farmer. I am honored to call him a friend. Though we have never met in person I feel like I know so much about him through the stories he shares on his podcast, through his writing, and in conversations I have had with him “off air”. Items mentioned in this farm podcast include: Iowa Farm Crawl Western Connecticut Farm Crawl Crooked Gap Farm The Beginning Farmer Camps Road Farm Take aways: How are you going to get people onto your farm? What is one area on your farm that is in desparate need of increased efficiency? Farmer quote of the episode: “Computers are like Old testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.” – Joseph Campbell “Never trust a computer that you can’t throw out a window.”- Steve Wozniak — Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show. Click to subscrible to iTunes Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
50 minutes | Dec 29, 2015
GFP083: 5 Lessons Learned On Farm This Year
I know we have all learned a lot this year. There have been good times, there have been bad times, and everything in between. This farm podcast episode focuses on five lessons learned by one of the Farm Finance Challenge participants Jonathan Woodford of Sugarwood Acres. Better record keeping is the key to success. Things don’t always go according to plan. It’s important to take time to help others. Do what it takes to get the job done. A farm is a wonderful place to raise a family. What is my name? Jonathan Woodford What is the name of my farm? SugarWood Acres A brief description of my farm: 160 acre certified organic farm on which we produce hay, maple syrup, small amount of grain and corn. We raise couple beef and pork for meat. Where is my farm located? 388 North Third St. West Farmington Ohio, 44491 What are my main operations? In 2013, we ran a 700 bucket operation, increased to 1200 buckets for 2014. 2014 we sold small square bales, mostly for horse feed. We also did some large round bales, which sold for a beef operation. We bought two angus heifers to start a breeding stock. We have raised a couple feeder cows in our front yard for a few years prior. This year we started with three feeder pigs. For 2015, we are looking into expanding into bees, more feeder pigs, two dozen chickens and half dozen turkeys. How big is my farm? We have about hundred acres of fields and forty acres of woods. My wife and I both work at the local school. I farm to provide my family with food that we know where it comes from and how it was raised. I enjoy farming and try to make a little extra money while doing it. How would I want people to contact me? SugarWood Acres on Facebook @SugarWoodAcres on Twitter Why am I participating in the Farm Finance Challenge? I started keeping track of hours spent collecting sap for the past two years. I try to start keeping track of tractor time but failed to do a good job at it. I have wanted to get a better idea of how much time we spend doing things and if we are making our time back in our sales. What is one thing you are struggling with on your farm? This year will be the first time doing farm taxes. I have no clue what to expect. I have a hard time pricing my products for sale. What do you hope to get out of the Challenge by the end? At the end of this challenge, I hope to have a better understanding of where I spend my time. I also will have a better idea of how much time and money it will cost me to run the farm. Take aways: How will better records effect your decision making? How do you create those positive habits that will propel your farm forward? Farm quote of the episode: “Decisions are the hardest things to make. Especially when it is a choice between where you should be and where you want to be.” – Anonymous — Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show. Click to subscribe to iTunes Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
56 minutes | Dec 29, 2015
GFP082: Managing Employees
I am super pleased to bring Curtis Stone back on the show for another episode to talk all about managing the farm, employees, and growing more farmers for the future. We cover the nitty-gritty of harvesting information on farm and what to do with that information once you have it. Managing employees can be one of the most emotional and difficult things you can do farming. Forget crop losses, acts of God, and poor markets, other humans have the potential to drive you insane like nothing else. I am finding however that there is a way to mitigate and even eliminate that stress. Data. Data is the key to most things. Knowing where you’ve been, where you are at, and where you are going using cold hard data to drive your decision making. Alright, so I have fun writing “cold hard data” because I’m sure I saw it in a movie once. I’m not a cold hard person. Far from it. I mean, have you seen my daughter Mabel? She turns me to mush every time I think of her. The problem I run into as a manager is that at times I need to be cold and hard and without concrete facts that can be very difficult to do. However you do it, and for whatever reason, tracking things on your farm is critical to growing your business. I get asked all the time, “John, I want to start farming, where do I begin?” Begin by tracking your personal finances, budgeting for yourself, using a calendar to keep organized, and if you do all that go out and try to grow some stuff. In this farm podcast you will learn: Spreadsheets don’t have to be scary Curtis’s three most used spreadsheets on farm It’s good to dork out about data management Using data to: discovery market trends sort out best practices maintain a financial picture of your farm Interview with Curtis Stone of Green City Acres Before starting his urban farm in the fall of 2009, Curtis had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening. Up until 2008, he had been living in Montreal, trying to make a go at being a working musician. It was many years ago, when he heard the old cliche, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. That was a turning point for him in that he knew that it was important for us to be active participants in our society, rather than just being by-standers. But it wasn’t until Curtis discovered Permaculture, while searching around on the internet for sustainable building methods, that it opened up a pandora’s box of information and inspiration for him. From there, he knew that he wanted to live in a way that was life affirming, not destructive. He left Montreal in March of 2008 to return to his home town of Kelowna, BC, to try and pursue this kind of life style. It was a bike tour down the west coast from Kelowna to San Diego in fall 2008 where he visited off-grid homesteads, eco villages, and urban farms, that inspired him to try to make a difference through his own actions. Upon returning from the trip totally inspired and ready to do something involved in sustainable ag, but not exactly sure what yet, a friend of his directed him towards SPIN farming. The stars must have aligned at that movement because once Curtis discovered that there was a way to farm that required very little investment, no need to own land or heavy machinery, he was confident that he could do it. He spent the rest of the fall and winter of 2009 studying SPIN farming and various other gardening and farming books, and then decided to go for it. With a little bit of money saved from a 6 month season of tree-planting, he had everything he needed to start a farm. After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the methods taught in the SPIN farming models, are simple and easily transferable to anyone, including those who have no experience. Through the off-season, Curtis works as public speaker on food related issues, and is a consultant for multiple community food projects throughout Kelowna. In September 2010 he was awarded ‘gardener of the year’ from the city of Kelowna’s Communities in Bloom. Items mentioned in this farm podcast include: GFP081: On The Shoulders of Giants The Urban Farmer Series on Permaculture Voices Green City Acres Creen City Acres on Facebook Profitable Urban Farming Course The Urban Farmer Book Take aways: Can you think of at least one stressor in your life that could have been solved by having better information? Ever want to strangle an employee? Think about it. Was it actually your fault as a manager or theirs as a worker? Farm quote of the episode: “Efficiency is intelligent laziness.” – David Dunham — Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show. Click to subscribe to iTunes Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
55 minutes | Oct 28, 2015
GFP081: On The Shoulders Of Giants
What separates professionals from amateurs is experience. There’s no getting around experience. You can read all the books, watch all the videos, take all the classes, but until you try and do whatever it is you’re trying to do it’s all just theory. What I cannot help be be fixated on these days is tracking that experience, documenting it, so it is easier to learn from past experiences and work toward my holistic goals on farm. “Standing on the shoulders of giants” means that you are picking up where someone else left off. Learning from their experiences and building your own. We live in an age where information is processed and passed along at lightning speed, why not take advantage of it and start to share some of your own? There are two sets of “giants” in your life. The first are the farmers that came before you who have written books, made the videos, set the stage, and carved the path that we’re following now. Those include the people who are discussing what they are doing in real time much the way I am doing with Farm Marketing Solutions. The second giant is YOU! You have the opportunity every day to gain experience and build on what you have already done. You don’t need to share your experiences with anyone else. Not everyone is comfortable with airing their dirty laundry for everyone to see. But internally, within your farm, you can take pictures, take notes, create records, and detail your actions so that at any time you can go back and see exactly how and why you did something. You make the best decisions you can at the time based on the tools (which includes knowledge) you have at the time. Looking back and thinking “man I wished I had done that” is pointless. Instead look back and say, “man, I did that and it didn’t work out. Why? What can I do to improve?” Figure out how to improve, and then go do it! Take action! No more theory! Get out there and gain more experience and embrace failure as openly as you do success. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” In this farm podcast you will learn: the story of a guy who keeps trying $75k on 1/3 of an acre farming the benefits of being specialized the necessity of being agile how being organized can save time, money, and headaches DATA, F-ING DATA it’s ok to make mistakes Interview with Curtis Stone of Green City Acres Before starting his urban farm in the fall of 2009, Curtis had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening. Up until 2008, he had been living in Montreal, trying to make a go at being a working musician. It was many years ago, when he heard the old cliche, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. That was a turning point for him in that he knew that it was important for us to be active participants in our society, rather than just being by-standers. But it wasn’t until Curtis discovered Permaculture, while searching around on the internet for sustainable building methods, that it opened up a pandora’s box of information and inspiration for him. From there, he knew that he wanted to live in a way that was life affirming, not destructive. He left Montreal in March of 2008 to return to his home town of Kelowna, BC, to try and pursue this kind of life style. It was a bike tour down the west coast from Kelowna to San Diego in fall 2008 where he visited off-grid homesteads, eco villages, and urban farms, that inspired him to try to make a difference through his own actions. Upon returning from the trip totally inspired and ready to do something involved in sustainable ag, but not exactly sure what yet, a friend of his directed him towards SPIN farming. The stars must have aligned at that movement because once Curtis discovered that there was a way to farm that required very little investment, no need to own land or heavy machinery, he was confident that he could do it. He spent the rest of the fall and winter of 2009 studying SPIN farming and various other gardening and farming books, and then decided to go for it. With a little bit of money saved from a 6 month season of tree-planting, he had everything he needed to start a farm. After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the methods taught in the SPIN farming models, are simple and easily transferable to anyone, including those who have no experience. Through the off-season, Curtis works as public speaker on food related issues, and is a consultant for multiple community food projects throughout Kelowna. In September 2010 he was awarded ‘gardener of the year’ from the city of Kelowna’s Communities in Bloom. Items mentioned in this farm podcast include: The Urban Farmer Series on Permaculture Voices Green City Acres Creen City Acres on Facebook Profitable Urban Farming Course SPIN Farming FFC003: Talking Nonsense The Urban Farmer Book Take aways: What are you doing to document and learn from your mistakes? Are you making time on farm for record keeping? Is it enough time? Farm quote of the episode: “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein — Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show. Click to subscribe to iTunes Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
21 minutes | Oct 28, 2015
GFP080: Welcome Back!
Hello everyone! The podcast was on hiatus as we deal with the technical issues of a 3 year old website and podcast. Technologies change and I was unable to farm and keep on top of the changing times. But that’s OK! Because the Growing Farms Podcast is back. Back with the every other week schedule. Scott has a new day-job which is monopolizing his time so Farm Fantasy Camp is on hiatus until further notice. In today’s show I go over what I’ve been up to on farm and with Farm Marketing Solutions as well. Items Mentioned in Today’s Farm Podcast Camps Road Farm Permaculture Voices Podcast Farm Fantasy Camp Episode 4: Lightbulbs Take aways: If you had to pare-down to the minimum you needed to do to get by, what would that look like? Is there anything you can take a break from in order to come back fresher? — Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook, or leave a 5 star rating iniTunes if you liked the show. Click to subscribe to iTunes Past Episodes Support the Show by Giving $1
61 minutes | Oct 11, 2015
Topics covered in this farm podcast: John & Scott do not like Skype Windows 10 might reinvent how we look at garbage John’s going on vacation, Scott too has gone on vacation Is there valor in working long hours? Hours Tracker App on iPhone for logging work hours Accepting that things will not be perfect How many things would fix themselves if I did not touch them? John uses an iPhone 6+ to shoot, edit, and upload videos Lower polish and increased iteration Adjusting what you grow to suit your needs and the needs of your market John goes camping in Canada Why take time off in the summer? Things are going to go wrong, and that is OK! John speaks nonsense… Mabel is the 4th generation going to this camp ground in the Suscovich family Sugar Island of the American Canoe Association Does camping losing its’ novelty when you live on a farm? Scott loves to take trees out of the ground, very exciting. Flame weeders are not sophisticated Work-life blend vs. work-life balance Finding work that you love makes everything easier (surprise) Four lightbulb theory: family, friends, work, health Getting to the core of why John & Scott work together John strokes his ego and thinks he’s super-human How easy is it to “check out” and quiet the chatter in your brain? The E-Myth Revisited Diego and Curtis on The Urban Farmer: Systems John recaps the Farm Crawl, it was a success
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