The Thriving Farmer Podcast

Michael Kilpatrick

If you’re looking to build a profitable farm that works, The Thriving Farmer Podcast is for you. Learn the latest tricks and strategies from successful farmers, strategize with in-depth interviews with leaders in the industry, and connect with stories of farmers just like you.

With over 15 years of farming background, your host Michael Kilpatrick has the experience and authority to bring you practical advice, ask the hard questions, tease out the gold nuggets, and help share what it’s really like to build a truly profitable, sustainable farm. In the interviews, we focus on building farms that last, setting up your systems, knowing your customers, building your team, and treading that ever-challenging work/family/life balance.

All Episodes

Michael discusses how he faced off with the many challenges presented to him within his local government to ensure a positive change for the future and farming.   You’ll hear: Why many farmers feel like the government is not our friend 2:17 About the many regulations placed on small farms 4:04 Why we don’t trust the government with the task of preserving the best interests of our farm, human health, and the environment at large 4:46 Why the government can’t be as efficient as private industry 8:44 What you can do to make things more efficient for your farm and your elected officials 11:34About the Guest:Michael Kilpatrick is the owner of Growing Farmers/In the Field Media, LLC and a farmer (The Farm on Central), educator, and inventor who lives in Ohio. He’s the host of the top rated Thriving Farmer Podcast as well as the Thriving Farmer Summit series, which has been viewed by over a quarter million farmers. He’s managed large farms and businesses, consulted for industry experts around the world, and spoken at dozens of conferences. Michael believes that anyone can build a profitable farm by following the simple business and management skills that he teaches in the Small Farm University, his company's educational platform and community for thriving farmers.   Resources: Websites - https://www.growingfarmers.com/, https://www.thrivingfarmerpodcast.com/, https://www.farmoncentral.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/growingfarmerswithmichael, https://www.facebook.com/farmoncentral Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/growingfarmers/, https://www.instagram.com/farmoncentral/ 

Nov 30

15 min 54 sec

Today we are joined by Maud Kelley, Principal and Owner of Greenlands Farm. Greenlands Farm is a small, three generational sustainable modern homestead farm located in rural Bolivia, NC. The Greenlands team is a true reflection of the homestead farm life: growing organic produce, baking in the farm kitchen with farm grown ingredients, and composting. This farm family certainly lives the sustainable lifestyle they teach others about! They’re open by appointment for educational group tours, as a wedding/special occasion venue, and sometimes for fundraiser events for the Helpers Of Our Farm (HOOF) Educational Farm Animal Sanctuary. Greenlands also breeds exotic birds, all researched and carefully selected for beauty and gentleness. Tune in today to hear all about how this eclectic and versatile farming operation runs the day to day!   You’ll hear: About Maud’s experience growing up on a homestead 1:14 Which enterprise Greenlands Farm began with 6:06 What kind of events Greenlands Farm hosts 8:20 How they got started breeding rare chickens 14:32 About their process for raising peacocks 18:28 How Maud assigns roles for the family on the farm 21:26 How Greenlands Farm markets all of their separate enterprises 24:39 What the Helpers Of Our Farm (HOOF) program is and how it works 28:51 Where you can find out more about Maud and Greenlands Farm 31:41About the Guest:Maud grew up in the 80’s on a 2 acre homestead farm her parents developed and designed, then they created Greenlands Farm in 2004. They began to share their roots with the community in 2010 when Greenlands Farm became an agritourism farm. As their three generational family grew and aged, Greenlands Farm went through some changes since 2010. They’re now an events venue, breeders of rare poultry, organic farmers of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and offer educational programs.Resources:Website - https://greenlandsfarm.org/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/GreenlandsFarm/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/greenlandsfarm/, https://www.instagram.com/hoof.nc/

Nov 23

38 min 25 sec

Have you considered making your farm a versatile year-round operation? We’re joined today by Katherine Nietmann of Moose Meadow Farm. Moose Meadow Farm is a CSA, grocery store, and winter online market based near Standpoint, Idaho. The goal of Moose Meadow is to make it easy for consumers to eat well every day, by providing the highest quality organic produce that’s squeaky clean, thoughtfully packaged, and conveniently delivered. Their systems are always evolving to be the most efficient and effective so that they’re able to produce more food on less space and with less effort, thereby providing customers a better service and allowing them to enjoy their chosen lifestyle more fully. They make sure to grow and sell the tastiest, healthiest, freshest produce money can buy all year long. Katherine is deeply passionate about their farming operation from the ground up, all while maintaining a clean and tidy farm that is welcoming and a pleasant place to work. Tune in today to hear how this thriving year-round farm stays on top of its operations!   You’ll hear: Why Katherine got started farming 1:17 What a typical week looks like on Moose Meadow Farm 4:53 About their sales strategies 7:23 What’s different about their production systems 11:08 What challenges Katherine and Spencer faced in the beginning phases of the farm 17:40 What they grow in their winter tunnels 19:38 What Katherine’s learned while year-round farming with a young child 22:45 Katherine’s favorite crop to grow 25:31 What tips Katherine has for people getting into farming 27:33 About the Guest:Katherine and Spencer moved to Spencer's family's land in North Idaho in 2016, built a house and started Moose Meadow Farm.  They thought they might be a tractor-based farm selling year-round retail, but it turns out they don't like tractors!  Instead they grow an acre of no-till vegetables and flowers for retail and wholesale and sell within a 100 mile radius of the farm, making sales of fresh (not storage) crops 52 weeks per year.   Resources:Website - https://www.moosemeadoworganic.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/moosemeadoworganicfarm Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/moosemeadowfarm/

Nov 16

33 min 18 sec

Do you know all the ins and outs when it comes to keeping your farm’s foundation primed to thrive? Today, we are delighted to host Dr. Elaine Ingham on the Thriving Farmer Podcast. Dr. Ingham is an American microbiologist and soil biology researcher. She’s also the Founder of Soil Foodweb Inc. The mission of Soil Foodweb Inc is to empower individuals and organizations to regenerate the soils in their communities. Dr. Ingham has advanced our knowledge about the soil food web for over 4 decades. Widely recognized as the world’s foremost soil biologist, she’s passionate about empowering ordinary people to bring the soils in their community back to life. Dr. Elaine’s ™ Soil Food Web Approach has been used to successfully restore the ecological functions of soils on six continents. If you feel your farm’s soil has room for improvement, this episode is absolutely crucial!   You’ll hear: What made Dr. Elaine passionate about soil 1:49 How farmers have handled smaller crops using Dr. Elaine’s systems 9:55 What Dr. Elaine has found to be the optimal method for applying compost 14:51 What Dr. Elaine recommends to newer farmers beginning with their compost 23:06 If Dr. Elaine recommends inoculating the new compost pile with the previous one 36:43 The difference between compost tea and compost extract 38:1 Dr. Elaine’s source for nematodes 43:03 About the long term impacts on a farm when proper care is given to the soil 46:23 How Dr. Elaine delineates the differences between soil grown and hydroponic food 1.04:03 Dr. Elaine’s stance on the efficacy of soil repair 1.09:24 What Dr. Elaine’s educational courses offer and who the target audience is 1.12:52   About the Guest:Dr. Ingham uncovered the Soil Food Web nearly 4 decades ago and has been pioneering research about Soil Food Web ever since. Widely recognized as the world’s foremost soil biologist, she’s passionate about empowering ordinary people to bring the soils in their communities back to life. Dr Elaine’s™ Soil Food Web Approach has been used to successfully restore the ecological functions of soils on more than five million acres of farmland all over the world. Resources: Website - https://www.soilfoodweb.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/OfficialpageSFWcourses/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/dr.elaines.soil.foodweb.school/

Nov 9

1 hr 25 min

Do you trust the mainstream conception of “healthy”?  Today we are proud to host Brian Sanders, health coach, filmmaker and Co-Founder of the health, media and technology company Sapien. Sapien’s mission is to provide information and services to promote healthy living. They are fighting the good fight against the modern norms that lead to chronic disease, weight gain, and poor health. Through education and tools they are helping people to eat better, live better, and thrive instead of just survive. Additionally, Brian is the host of the Peak Human Podcast, which is less of a podcast, and more of a free audio lecture series with world-renowned doctors, scientists, and researchers. Join us to hear all about Brian’s journey to health!   You’ll hear: What inspired Brian to create the Food Lies documentary, and the premise behind it 1:15 How Brian’s degree in Mechanical Engineering played a part in the path that he chose 10:41 Where the newest research regarding the ideal human diet is headed 14:37 What went wrong with the food pyramid 20:07 What “regenerative” means to Brian 23:59 The meaning of “nose to tail” 27:56 When the documentary will be released 29:46 What someone who needs a lot of calories should have for snacks 32:16About the Guest:Brian Sanders is the filmmaker behind the Food Lies documentary, host of the top 5 nutrition podcast Peak Human, and an international speaker. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He works as a Health Coach at Evolve Healthcare and co-founded the health education company Sapien. He also works to spread the awareness of regenerative agriculture and increase access to well-raised animal products through his company Nose to Tail.   Resources:Website - https://www.nosetotail.org/, https://www.sapien.org/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FoodLiesOrg Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/food.lies/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/foodliesorg

Nov 2

34 min 19 sec

What kind of farming opportunities exist in The Big Apple? Joining me today is Liz Dowd, Director of Farming Operations at Brooklyn Grange, located in NYC. Founded in 2010, Brooklyn Grange is the leading rooftop farming and intensive green roofing business in the US. Brooklyn Grange operates the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on three roofs in New York City. They work to make the city more sustainable by designing, building and maintaining urban green spaces for private residences, organizations, and businesses. They also host about 7,000 people on our farms every season through events and educational programming. Liz grew up in Vermont, passionately enjoying work with her homesteader parents. She studied biodynamics at the Pfieffer Center and urban permaculture at NY Open Center. Liz continues to be passionate about working with–and for–the community, creating an engaging space where neighbors can find nourishment, relaxation, and a connection to food, farming, and nature. Join us on the rooftops of NYC today!   You’ll hear: The background of Brooklyn Grange 1:38 The range of crops that they grow 8:52 How Brooklyn Grange moves their products 9:57 How they manage the bed systems 14:57 How they’ve refined their hiring process 18:14 How they manage their finances 23:20 The systems Brooklyn Grange has in place to keep things moving efficiently 28:03 What Liz sees for the future of Brooklyn Grange 29:12 What Liz would change about her farming journey given the opportunity to start again 34:46 What Liz thinks is the biggest mistake newer farmers tend to make 36:45 Liz’s heroes/mentors throughout her farming journey 43:08 About the hardest thing Liz has ever had to do as a farmer 47:16   About the Guest:Liz Dowd was born in Vermont and grew up working alongside their parents; stacking wood, sifting compost, and tending their vegetable and cut flower gardens. Upon moving to New York City to study photography, they found that they loved the culture but missed the dirt, and their yearning for soil and seeds led them to the Pfieffer Center, where they studied biodynamics, and NY Open Center, where they dove into urban permaculture. After completing their Adult Urban Farm Training Program, Liz was offered a co-manager position at The Youth Farm, where they found themself energized and inspired by teaching and learning from their cohort, and the challenging discussions about food justice that regularly took place. Liz is passionate about working with–and for–their community, creating an engaging space where their neighbors can find nourishment, relaxation, and a connection to food, farming, and nature. Liz has worked hard with their team to establish the Equitable Food Distribution Program at Brooklyn Grange which has enabled 30% of all produce to go to New Yorkers at no cost.    Resources:Website - https://www.brooklyngrangefarm.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BrooklynGrange Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/brooklyngrange/

Oct 26

51 min 34 sec

Farm life is challenging. Who’s out there innovating, making farm life more practical, modern and convenient?  Today on our 150th episode, we’ve got a fun episode featuring Curly of Curly’s Ag, located in Rosevale, Queensland, Australia. Curly’s Ag is an Australian family business that designs, manufactures, and distributes tools and equipment. Their designs aim to solve the daily challenges we face in agriculture to accelerate efficiency and production. Curly and his family run a market garden. When they didn’t have a solution for certain challenges and needs they had when they started, it encouraged them to seek out solutions for themselves. All the Curly’s Ag tools are manufactured in a workshop run 100% on solar electricity. They have committed themselves to be the solar powered helping hand that every farmer loves to have around. Find out how Curly and his solutions can optimize your agricultural operation! You’ll hear: What the Handy is 1:44 How Curly got into the ag business 2:43 How they efficiently manage electricity being 100% solar powered 10:44 About the thought process behind manufacturing the Handy 17:26 How much the Handy can lift 27:46 How Curly’s Ag refines their products and practices 30:40 What tools they use for the Handy 41:43   About the Guest: Curly’s Ag is an Australian family business that designs, manufactures, and distributes tools and equipment. Their designs solve the daily challenges farmers face in agriculture to accelerate  efficiency and production. Curly and his wife, Marta, run a market garden and through the challenges and the needs for which they did not have a solution, they began to seek solutions for themselves. Now they enjoy sharing their solutions with others! They’ve committed themselves and their business to be the helping hand that every farmer needs.   Resources:Website - https://curlysag.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CurlysAg Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/curlysag/

Oct 19

56 min 33 sec

*Disclaimer* We recognize that our focus on this podcast may or may not align with your personal perspectives on genetic modification and the use of chemical inputs (such as glyphosate and dicamba) in agriculture production. With our mission of building profitable and sustainable farms, we present today's podcast with the hope that we can consider the long-term impact of this technology on the health and productivity of our worldwide community. We encourage folks to do their own research regarding the wide range of topics discussed in today's episode. We’re not providing medical advice regarding any disease or condition; we strongly encourage our listeners to consult with health professionals for specific diagnosis and treatments.   Today on the podcast we’re hosting special guest Jeffrey Smith, American consumer activist,  self-published author, and former politician. Jeffrey is the author of two books on genetically engineered foods, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, and Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, which he made into a film in 2012. He focuses on advocating against GMOs and pesticides, exposing the dangers they bring to humanity. This info-packed episode details how proper health and nutrition sustains life and the modern day trends that create disease, as well as potential cataclysmic disasters we may face due to genetically engineered microbes. Don’t miss it!    You’ll hear: Why organic is so important in today’s ecosystem 1:36 About the Protect Nature Now campaign  23:08 About the disaster surrounding golden rice 40:08 Some recent studies regarding the effects of GMOs on our health 53:52 What the average person can do to avoid the dangerous pitfalls of modern food production and live healthy 1.10:10 About the Guest:As a leading spokesperson on GMO health dangers, Jeffrey Smith authored 2 global bestsellers, directed 5 films, delivered 1000 lectures and 1000 interviews in 45 countries, trained 1500 speakers and organized over 10,000 grassroots advocates. He is now sounding the alarm about the serious, even irreversible hazards from new genetic engineering techniques, which can lead to health and environmental catastrophes.He and the Institute for Responsible Technology, which he founded, are now sounding the alarm about the serious and potentially irreversible hazards from new genetic engineering techniques. Their Protect Nature Now campaign, which has more than 50 coalition organizations worldwide, recognizes that genetically altering microbes can cause unprecedented health problems and collapse ecosystems. They therefore call on government leaders to prevent all releases of genetically engineered microbes.   Resources:Website - https://protectnaturenow.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/responsibletechnology Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/irtnogmos/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/IRTnoGMOs   Harvest Hosts Resources:If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.comHarvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Oct 12

1 hr 20 min

Today on the show, we’re deviating from the typical farmer to farmer Q&A formula to focus a bit on the importance of international missionary work in agriculture. We’re joined by Danielle Flood, Public Relations and Communications Manager for ECHO, an international institution which works to find innovative and sustainable ways for small farmers around the world to optimize their farms’ production. Danielle came to ECHO in December 2007 after serving as a missionary in Niger, West Africa for two years. She and her husband look at ECHO as an opportunity to serve the missionary community and make good on their commitment to their faith. Tune in today to hear all about the day to day life of an agricultural missionary!    You’ll hear: How long Danielle’s been working with ECHO 0:58 What ECHO is all about 2:06 About ECHO’s activities around agriculture research 3:39 How ECHO keeps their seed banks up to date 10:28 What methods and principles ECHO employs for their production 13:29 How ECHO streamlines technology internationally 21:53 How ECHO got started 25:47 How ECHO’s online community for overseas workers operates 28:57 How ECHO gives tours 32:04   About the Guest:Danielle Flood is the Communications Manager at ECHO, an international organization that works to find innovative and sustainable ways for small-scale farmers around the world to improve their harvests, reducing global hunger and poverty. She has traveled to more than 20 countries while championing agricultural development through hands-on training and knowledge sharing. Resources:Website - https://echonet.org/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ECHOFightsHunger Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/echofightshunger/ YouTube - ​​https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYF7qKU0NXfp33s0QtTiWJA/videos   Harvest Hosts Resources:If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.comHarvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Oct 5

35 min 3 sec

How well do you understand the fundamentals of keeping your farm regenerative and healthy? Today we’re joined by Nigel Palmer, life long gardener and Author of The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments. Nigel’s book provides practical, detailed instructions that are accessible to every grower who wants to achieve a truly sustainable garden ecosystem - all while enjoying better results at a fraction of the cost of commercial fertilizer products. These recipes go beyond fertilizer replacement, resulting in greater soil biological activity and mineral availability. They also increase pest and disease resistance, yields, and nutrient density. Using ferments, tinctures, and extracts, Nigel teaches all about how to create foliar sprays, fertilizers, and soil drenches to grow disease and pest-resistant plants, and nutrient-dense food, without the need for commercial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. Join us today to hear how you can regenerate and greatly enhance your own farm!   You’ll hear:  What Nigel’s career as an aerospace engineer was like 1:05 When Nigel started with gardening 2:15 What caused Nigel’s decision to get into nutrient dense growing 3:23 What specific recipes are better for specific crops 9:45 How Nigel sources materials and finds the right extractions for optimal plant growth 12:24 Nigel’s method for optimal foliar spraying 14:59 What are the advantages of using organic vinegar in lieu of regular ACV? 18:33 What a refractometer is and how it’s best utilized 23:10 Some things a new gardener should always be looking for 27:51 The layout of The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments 39:31 How The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition operates 45:05 Nigel’s favorite tools for his work 53:02 Nigel’s favorite crop to grow 55:12 About the Guest:Nigel Palmer is the author of the book The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments and an experimental gardener relying on the amazing complexity of nature to inspire his food growing philosophies. He develops curriculum for, and instructs, the Gardening Program at The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition (TIOSN.com).   Resources:Websites - https://www.nigel-palmer.com/, TIOSN.comLinktree - ​​https://linktr.ee/nigelpalmer   Harvest Hosts Resources:If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.comHarvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Sep 28

1 hr 5 min

Today on the show we're joined by Stacey Bowles, born and raised farmer and Founder of Smart Locavore, a classified free-to-use website for people to find local food directly from farmers & growers. Stacey has a thorough understanding of the benefits of sourcing and growing local food. She grew up on her parents' beef cattle farm in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Smart Locavore was created for large producers and the small gardeners alike. Maybe you only have a little extra and can only post this week, or you are a larger producer with an abundant and constant supply. Find out how to bring your goods to the digital landscape efficiently and cost effectively in today’s episode!   You’ll hear: How Stacey got into the farm business 0:52 Why Stacey created Smart Locavore 1:40 How Smart Locavore approaches marketing/promotion 2:52 How Smart Locavore differs from other similar services 4:35 Other types of products that may soon come to the website 8:40 Next steps for Smart Locavore 10:45 About the most popular products currently on Smart Locavore 13:51 About the most active regions currently on Smart Locavore 15:06   About the Guest:Smart Locavore is a classifieds website that connects people directly with farmers & growers for local food in their area! It's a free platform that gives farmers more visibility and more direct sales in their pocket.   Resources:Website - https://www.smartlocavore.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SmartLocavore Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/smartlocavore/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-bowles-0235571ba/   Harvest Hosts Resources:If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.comHarvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Sep 21

18 min 30 sec

The farm is hot but your workforce is dwindling. What now?  On today’s episode, I’ll be taking this time to talk to you all about labor. Currently there are lots of folks in the industry struggling with it! Summer crops are coming in, Fall crops are being planted, but labor might be waning due to a variety of factors. In the episode, I’ll be discussing why you need reliable help to fall back on, how you can maximize your production and profits with labor, what you can do to secure the labor force you need and maximize their presence on your farm, and more. Learn a bit about how I hire and maintain a productive team on the farm year round!   You’ll hear:  Reasons why you need labor 1:50 What to do if you can’t secure the labor you need and how you can maximize your time and effort on the farm 10:54 Some effective ways to approach hiring 19:42 What kinds of questions are on our employment application 26:12 What we offer our employees 31:12 How to utilize H2A for productivity and profit 33:43 Resources:Websites - https://www.growingfarmers.com/, https://www.thrivingfarmerpodcast.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/growingfarmerswithmichael Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/growingfarmers/   Harvest Hosts Resources:If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.comHarvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Sep 14

42 min 32 sec

On today’s episode we’re hosting Gerardo Martinez, founder of Wild Kid Acres located in Edgewater, Maryland. A Chicago native, Gerardo went on to study Engineering at the United States Naval Academy. After graduating, Gerardo served in the Marine Corps and then went on to lead in the corporate world. From leading staff sections in the Marine Corps, building divisions of a construction company, and assisting to create non-profits, Gerardo has a wide range of experiences to assist in building great relationships. Wild Kid Acres is devoted to providing farm-based educational experiences, inspiring community involvement, and creating opportunities for lifelong learning. Join us today to hear all about how happenstance (and a few creative minds) built this thriving educational farm from the ground up!   You’ll hear: How Gerardo got into farming 1:35 How Wild Kid Acres has evolved 14:20 How Gerardo built the farm’s revenue streams 15:53 How Gerardo tailors the experiences on the farm around neurochemical reactions 22:26 How Wild Kid Acres discovers new areas of business to engage with 28:53 What Gerardo thinks is the most impactful subject Wild Kid teaches on the farm 32:50 About the Wild Kid Foundation’s role on the farm 44:00 About the Guest: Originally from Chicago, IL, Gerardo Martinez, is a Naval Academy graduate and former Marine Corps Officer. After his service, he combined his love of the outdoors and passion of rock climbing with his leadership development expertise to form Triple Direct Leadership, a executive development and experiential leadership company. While on assignment in Cameroon, Africa, Gerardo was incredibly moved by the community farm’s ability to provide food for the residents and serve as a dedicated community center. Instead of exchanging monetary capital they exchanged human interaction -- something that was truly priceless. When he returned back to the States, he made it his mission to recreate the spirit and vision of the farm in Cameroon, so he bought a farm in Edgewater, Maryland. The land he purchased was a rundown property, covered in trash and had a condemned house. Yet, Gerardo saw the potential. During COVID, he began to build a home for his family (by himself) and started welcoming animals like goats and chickens. In September 2020, a neighbor pulled in and begged to visit the animals. It was that visit that prompted Gerardo and his wife, Jessica, to open Wild Kid Acres. The farm now offers an array of programming including goat yoga, farmers markets, speech and occupational therapy and an array of other activity-based education. When he’s not working, he’s spending time with his wife and two young children, rock climbing and competing in the Mexican Rodeo (Charreada). Resources:Website - https://www.wildkidacres.org/ Facebook - ​​https://www.facebook.com/wildkidacres Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wildkidacres/ TikTok - https://www.tiktok.com/@wildkidacres   Harvest Hosts Resources:If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.comHarvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Sep 7

53 min 25 sec

Did you choose farming, or did farming choose you? Today we’re joined by Mark Ramsay, Founder and Executive Director of Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm (or The LEAF) located in Southington, Connecticut. The LEAF brings classroom subjects to life, incorporating agricultural farming practices that are socially and ecologically beneficial while connecting learning through hands-on education. Mark is the 7th generation of the Lewis family to have continuously farmed the land since the 1700s. He’s worked full-time on the family farm since 1979. The amount of history and experience offered in this episode is a must for farmers of all backgrounds and experience levels! You'll hear: The family expectations of Mark’s role on the farm 1:15 The history of The LEAF 2:25 What kind of crops they work with 4:54 The LEAF’s process for making beds and getting crops planted 9:18 About the educational aspect of the farm 14:02 How the school gardens were set up 20:25 How the team is structured and how hiring decisions are made 22:55 How The LEAF approaches flower production 26:27 What purpose animals serve on the farm 35:32 When Mark decided to structure the business as it is today 37:37 What The LEAF is experimenting with these days 43:49 About the Guest:The Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm (The L.E.A.F) is a 15 acre 501c-3 nonprofit educational farm in Southington, CT. Mark Ramsay is the 7th generation of his family to run the farm. Currently, the LEAF runs a year-round CSA program, a seasonal farm stand, and an online store in addition to numerous charitable and community programs. Mark and his team grow a huge variety of vegetables and cut flowers, and strive to create an inclusive and welcoming place for all.Resources:Website - http://www.leafct.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/the.leaf.ct Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/the.leaf.ct/   Harvest Hosts Resources: If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Growing Farmers Podcast on your application! Harvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.com  ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Aug 31

52 min 17 sec

Today we’re chatting with Andrea McAdow, owner of Rosebird Farms located in Kingman, Arizona. Nestled in the Cerbat Mountains on just over 2 acres, Rosebird is a certified naturally grown farm growing over 20 varieties of produce any given season. They use high density planting with a focus on soil health in order to get the most out of the land. Andrea came into farming after starting her career in civil engineering and construction management. She felt she needed to give back to the Earth and the community, which led her to the farm life! Hear the tale of a drastic yet dedicated and passionate (and of course, thriving) career shift on today’s episode!   You’ll hear: Why Andrea shifted from civil engineering to farming 1:23 How Rosebird Farms got customers at the beginning 4:17 How they advertise 6:17 How Rosebird handles their flower production 9:50 How they sell their flowers 18:26 How Andrea handles the CSA 22:41 How Andrea communicates with other farmers regarding business prospects 26:12 How their products are priced 28:44 What lessons Andrea learned along the way to becoming a thriving farmer 29:25 Andrea’s advice for those looking to get started on the farming journey 31:51About the guest:Andrea McAdow is the owner of Rosebird Farms, a certified naturally grown farm located on 2 acres in the high desert of Northwestern AZ. After starting her career in civil engineering and construction management, Andrea began farming to explore her passion for working with nature and serving her community. Rosebird Farms grows produce and cut flowers for their CSA and year-round farm stand. They also work with other regional farmers and value-added producers to aggregate and distribute a full line of local products throughout Mohave county.   Resources: Website - https://www.rosebirdfarms.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rosebirdfarms Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rosebirdfarms/   Harvest Hosts Resources: If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! Harvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. ​If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.com  ​Don't believe us? Hear more from a host!

Aug 24

33 min 27 sec

Have you ever considered moving your farming operation? Today we’re taking it across the pond with Steve, Jenny, and Sequoia of Chaos Springs Farm, located in Waihi, New Zealand. Originally located in Utah, Chaos Springs makes compost and soil management tools to help growers take control of their soil fertility. They make it a point to pay close attention to all four realms of soil function: soil biology, minerals, energetics, and the plant-soil relationship. Chaos Springs also grows a selection of fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables. Hear all about what farm life is like on the other side!   You’ll hear: What kicked off their farming journey 1:30 How they prepared for the move 5:08 What different enterprises are involved with the farm 10:36 The goals of their social media marketing 18:04 How they handle compost filtration 31:42 The main benefits of compost tea 38:31 What kind of themes Chaos Springs markets in social media 43:08 About the thought process behind building the composting business 47:05 Where they see the farm headed in the future 50:25   About the Guest:Jenny & Steve have been farming since 1983. First in Utah, running Ranui Gardens, then in 2001 they purchased a Farm in New Zealand where they farm today. Sequoia, their daughter runs the social media for the company from Toronto.   Resources:Website - https://www.chaossprings.co.nz/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ChaosSprings/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/chaossprings/   Harvest Hosts Resources: If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application! Harvest Hosts Facebook  Harvest Hosts Instagram  Become a Host Information We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.com. Don't believe us? Hear more from a host! 

Aug 17

1 hr 2 min

Is beef ranching bad for the environment? What can ranchers do to make sure their operation is ethical and environmentally healthy? On today’s episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, we’ve got Nicolette Hahn Niman. She is an esteemed author and former environmental lawyer. Nicolette spends much of her time speaking and writing about the problems of industrialized livestock production. She explores these topics in her books: ‘Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms’ and ‘Defending Beef.’ Before her exploits into ranching and authoring, she was the senior attorney for the environmental organization Waterkeeper Alliance, where she was in charge of the organization's campaign to reform the concentrated livestock and poultry industry, and before that an attorney for National Wildlife Federation. Find out where she finds the time for all these accomplished endeavors on today’s show!   You’ll hear: What Nicolette’s transition to vegetarianism and back to being omnivorous was like 2:46 What kind of ingredients the average faux burger contains 16:48 About the research for determining the methane output of ranching beef 29:37 What Niman Ranch is all about 39:57 What kind of steps ranchers can take to ensure the integrity of their beef operation 51:45   About the Guest:Nicolette Hahn Niman is a rancher, former environmental lawyer, and author of three books about sustainable and regenerative meat. She has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, and was a regular blogger for The Atlantic. She lives in Northern California with her husband Bill Niman,founder of the meat companies Niman Ranch and BN Ranch, and their two sons.   Resources:Website - https://www.chelseagreen.com/writer/nicolette-hahn-niman/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/defendingbeef

Aug 10

1 hr 2 min

How much history has your family farm built?  Today I’m speaking with Evan McCommon of Mahaffey Farms, a very long-running, historical family farm located in Haughton, Louisiana. By combining traditional agricultural practices with modern marketing, including farm-to-table dinners, a farm store, and a bed-and-breakfast, Evan and his family are introducing a new generation to fresh seasonal foods. Mahaffey takes a holistic approach to everything they do. The main principles they operate under are 1) regenerative landscapes, 2) resilient community and 3) valuable nourishment. Join us to hear how Mahaffey Farms thrives while adhering to these principles!   You’ll hear: What Evan did before farming 1:13 About the cycle for timber management 3:11 What types of pigs Mahaffey Farms raises 5:17 How the processing is done for larger animals 11:39 What the transition from forest to pasture is like 14L07 What channels Mahaffey Farms sells through 17:52 How Evan manages the growth of the business 22:12 About the main obstacles of running their pork and beef facility 29:51 About Mahaffey Farms’ marketing efforts 32.25 The major things Evan’s learned throughout his farming journey 35:13 What Evan believes the future holds for Mahaffey Farms  40:57   About the Guest:Evan started managing his family's land and timber resources at a young age in 1995. During that same time he also had a 15 year career in product design/engineering. His first job was for a chainsaw/weed-eater manufacturing company and later for a commercial cooking equipment company designing equipment for large fast food chains. After 15 years of sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, and only spending time on the farm during weekends, he decided to go out on his own and pursue a career in selling real estate.  This was in 2006 during the real estate boom and when the 2008 market crash happened, he realized what he really wanted to do was work on the land to make a living and live a more purposeful life...only working for money/commissions just wasn't rewarding. During his time in real estate he developed an interest in healthy eating and clean food. Realizing there were almost zero local farms working on organic or sustainable food production, he saw an opportunity to bring back the family farm! Having all the acres in timber production he started taking little pieces and developing small market gardens and selling "organic" vegetables. It didn't take Evan long to realize the sandy soils on the family farm just were not very productive for vegetables. Reading Joel Salatin's books showed him that pastured livestock would be a better direction to convert forests into pastures and really build some soil. In fall of 2012, Mahaffey Farms got the first pigs on pasture and by the end of 2013, the farm had cattle and broilers on pasture! Thanks to the love and support of the community and the warm welcome of these high quality foods on the local market, Mahaffey Farms has been growing at a rapid pace to meet the demand! There have been setbacks and challenges but overall the farm has grown every year.  Mahaffey Farms is now (according to state inspectors) the largest producer of pastured pork and chicken in the state of Louisiana with on-farm processing for chicken, and in 2020, purchasing its own beef and pork processing plant. Resources:Website - https://cultivate318.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mahaffeyfarms/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mahaffeyfarms/

Aug 3

45 min 57 sec

Who makes sure that the refugee farmers thrive too?  Today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast we have with us Zachary Couture and Firmin Ntakimazi of Lutheran Services located in Des Moines, Iowa. Zachary is co-leader and developer of the Global Greens Program which reconnects former refugee farmers with the land as they build their new life in the U.S. Through Global Greens, farmers access space to grow food, learn more about U.S. agriculture, and start their own business by selling produce at farmers markets and through CSA. They connect former refugee families to small garden plots near their homes. Hear how they do all that they do!    You’ll hear: What Lutheran Services all about 2:11 About Lutheran’s training program 5:20 The scope of the community gardens 11:20 How many farmers work in the program 15:46 The main messages Firmin Ntakimazi needs to convey to these new farmers 20:05 What crops the refugees typically like to bring over 26:23 What has changed about agriculture in Iowa over the last 10 years 33:23   About the Guests:Zachary Couture is a passionate farmer, teacher, and advocate whose experiences obligate him to positively transform our human communities and ecosystem. He is currently Land and Production Supervisor at Lutheran Services in Iowa, where for the last ten years he has co-led and developed the Global Greens Program into a successful model to incubate beginning New American vegetable farmers through production education, land access, strategic planning decisions, and market access.  Firmin Ntakimazi is a translator for the program. He’s been involved in the project from its inception as a community leader helping bring the idea to Iowa, and now is an interpreter for the program.   Resources: Website - https://lsiowa.org/refugee/global-greens/ ​​Resources - https://nesfp.org/new-american-resources Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LSIGlobalGreens/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lsiglobalgreens/

Jul 27

47 min 45 sec

Does your farm have the right legal structures in place to protect your livelihood and to keep your farm thriving?  We’re joined on the show today by Rachel Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director of Farm Commons located in Duluth, Minnesota. Farm Commons’ mission is to empower agricultural communities to resolve their own legal vulnerabilities, within an ecosystem of support. A single legal vulnerability can make or break a farm. But farmers, ranchers, and agriculture communities already have their hands full taking on behemoths like monopolistic agribusiness companies. Farms today are getting squeezed by overwhelming social and economic forces. They need shared tools for legal resilience. Learn how Rachel and her team can provide legal resilience for you and your farm!   You’ll hear: What motivated Rachel to establish Farm Commons 1:03 What blanket farm personal property is 11:25 Why it’s good to have a solid lease agreement in place 15:39 What legal structures farmers should have in place 23:32 What the rules are surrounding volunteers 27:36 What Rachel recommends for farms offering worker perks such as room and board 32:58 What advice Rachel has for farmers just getting started 37:35 About the Guest: Rachel Armstrong is the founder and Executive Director of Farm Commons, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering farmers to resolve their own legal vulnerabilities within an ecosystem of support. After a childhood and early career in agriculture showed her the vast need for legal education, Rachel went to law school with the exclusive purpose of creating an organization to address that need. Her game-changing vision for how farmers experience business law has been awarded a 2012 Echoing Green Global Fellowship and a 2018 Ashoka Fellowship. As leading authority on direct-to-consumer farm law she has authored dozens of publications and leads workshops nationwide. Rachel instructs continuing legal education classes for the American Bar Association, teaches farm law for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is a co-author of "Farmers' Guide to Business Structures," published by USDA SARE. She lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and 3 children, not far from the old farm where she grew up.   Resources:Website - https://farmcommons.org/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FarmCommons Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/farm.commons/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/farmcommons

Jul 20

42 min 44 sec

Have you considered taking your thriving farm into cyberspace?  Today we’re joined by Nick Carter of Market Wagon in Indianapolis, Indiana. Market Wagon is a start-up team carrying out this mission using cutting-edge shopping and supply chain technology, proprietary fulfillment processes, and innovative logistics approaches. Their mission is to enable local food producers to compete successfully in local and regional markets. Currently they operate over a dozen hubs serving ten states and tens of millions of residents. Each hub features food grown and made by local vendors. Join us today to hear all about how Nick operates this cutting edge operation with such an expansive scale!   You’ll hear: About Nick’s experience growing up on a farm 1:07 Why grocery stores typically don’t want to work with local vendors 5:34 About the early stages of Market Wagon 7:48 What scaling challenges Market Wagon is experiencing 9:51 How Market Wagon defines local food 11:53 About Nick’s current role at Market Wagon 15:01 Nick’s criteria for entering a new market 19:04 About Market Wagon’s current growth goals 22:29 Why newer farmers should try out Market Wagon 26:55   About the Guest: Nick Carter is Co-Founder and CEO of Market Wagon, a marketplace that connects food consumers directly with local farmers and artisans. Nick started his first business at the age of 16. In the two decades since then, he’s founded or co-founded over half a dozen companies in the technology and food sectors. He’s a fourth-generation Indiana farmer passionate about using innovation to re-connect “Agri” and “Culture. Nick is also the author of “More than a Mile: What America Needs from Local Food.” Resources:Website - https://www.marketwagon.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MarketWagon Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/marketwagon/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickcarterentrepreneur/

Jul 13

33 min 40 sec

Have you ever considered farming for a target audience that isn’t “everyone who eats”? Today we’re joined by Maggie Cheney, co-founder of Rock Steady Farm in Millerton, New York. Maggie and her partner, D, both hoped the Millerton farm could increase food equity in the food system and create safer spaces for LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual/ally queer) and BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) farmers to thrive. Almost six years later, the farm has indeed made an impact. Its wide array of vegetables feed a 450-member sliding scale CSA that includes free and subsidized shares made possible through the Food Access Fund. The farm works in close partnerships with other land-based projects, neighbors, and nonprofits that work to build equity in the region and beyond. Their farm practices “holistic regenerative” farming. Join us to hear all about how Rock Steady thrives with their specific target audience!   You’ll hear: What got Maggie into farming 1:58 What made Maggie and her partner choose Millerton for the farm 4:33 Why Maggie and D dropped flowers from their farming plan 7:17 About Rock Steady’s scale of production 11:19 How Rock Steady finds the right people for the farm 18:26 What programs Rock Steady run and what ages do they work with 20:36 Why Rock Steady doesn’t have any H2A workers 23:27 About the differences involved with farming in California and New York 29:11 About the Pollinate Apprenticeship Program 32:10 What systems and processes Maggie would put into place sooner given the chance to start again 36:30 How Rock Steady approaches marketing 41:10 Maggie’s favorite crop to grow 48:29 Maggie’s advice for newer farmers getting into the business 50:33 Maggie’s favorite farming tool 54:12About the Guest:MAGGIE CHENEY (THEY/THEM, SHE/HER), GENERAL MANAGER, OWNER & FOUNDER Maggie grew up growing & loving food. They have been involved with food and farming their whole life, both urban and rural. In 2006, they helped start an elementary school garden program in Oakland, California, and then went on to the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems for two years. After farming a bit in the Hudson Valley and Staten Island, they moved to NYC in 2011, where they met many of the Rock Steady Community partners in NYC while leading a diversity of food justice and youth leadership programs.  Maggie has been instrumental in the formation of the Food Sovereignty Fund, which funds food access projects across New York State by sourcing from specifically BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ farmers, as well as supporting on advisory boards for numerous food orgs in the region. In the off season they teach, now for the 9th year, at Farm School NYC, an urban agriculture training program, as well as continue to support the efforts and inspiring work of Rise & Root Farm, which they co-founded in 2014. Resources:Website - https://www.rocksteadyfarm.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RockSteadyFarmandFlowers/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rocksteadyfarm/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/RockSteadyFarm

Jul 6

59 min 29 sec

Do you hold both farming and humanity dear to your heart? Today we’re taking a bit of a different direction with the show. We’re joined by The Paisley Twins, Lisa and Zoe. Lisa and Zoe are the founders of Aggie Global, a platform that connects small farms to big markets to boost farmer income and address poverty in developing countries. Growing up in the outskirts of Sydney, Zoe and Lisa were exposed to country and urban living, which sparked their passion for the outdoors and food. In 2018, they moved to Sigatoka, Fiji to found Aggie Global. Tune in to this special episode where we explore a unique and exotic angle of the farming realm!   You’ll hear: What happened in Fiji 1:12 What the economy is like in Fiji 3:50 How Lisa and Zoe came to create Aggie Global 6:30 How Zoe and Lisa reach out to Fijian farmers to teach them about technology processes 10:26 How they set up delivery 13:20 What logistics this entails 18:42 The typical land size for farmers in Fiji 21:00 How the pandemic has affected farming in Fiji 25:38 How Aggie Global reaches the end consumer 27:46   About the Guests:Have you ever wondered what farming is like in Fiji? Or what happens when 1 in 3 people lose their jobs? Lisa and Zoe Paisley, or The Paisley Twins, are the cofounders of Aggie Global. They are working with remote community members in Fiji to alleviate poverty and address food insecurity. Their work to connect farmers to customers is needed now more than ever, with the tourism market shut down and consumers stuck in quarantine, unable to access fresh produce. Learn about the challenges Aggie Global's farmers face and how you can support the Aggie community. Check out their monthly subscriptions at https://startsomegood.com/projects/aggieglobalfiji   Resources:Website - http://aggieglobal.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AggieGlobalFiji/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/aggie_global/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/aggie-global/   Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

Jun 29

35 min 33 sec

Today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast we’re pleased to host Elliot Seldner of Fair Share Farm. Located in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Fair Share Farm operates on five acres producing USDA GAP Certified greens, roots, garnish, and other specialty items. They host a traditional farm, a restaurant, an online store as well as a farmers market and deal in a wide variety of innovative, exceptional produce.They also grow microgreens, salad greens, and specialty produce for chefs in their community. Tune in to hear all about how Elliot and his team achieve such phenomenal feats!   You’ll hear: An overview of Fair Share Farm 1:28 How Elliot got started in farming 4:27 The biggest lesson Elliot learned on his farming journey 8:45 About the no-till practices on Fair Share Farm 11:44 How Fair Share handles microgreen production 22:23 How they plan for edible flower production and distribution 30:56  How the transition to online sales has gone for Fair Share 43:48 What software Elliot uses and the challenges he’s found with it 52:48 What Elliot does to ensure he hires the right help 57:13 What systems and processes Elliot would change given the chance to go back in time 1.14:22 What advice Elliot has for newer farmers 1.20:16   About the Guest: Fair Share Farm, LLC is owned by Emma Hendel and Elliot Seldner and operated in conjunction with caring managers Meredith, Megan, and Hannah. Incorporated in the Fall of 2014, the farm has grown from a 10,000 square foot  garden into a 20 acre farm. It’s their mission to grow the highest quality food, to feed as many people as possible, and to provide a legitimate livelihood for the farmers and employees that keep the entity thriving.   Resources:Website - https://www.fairsharefarm.net/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/fairsharefarmnc Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/fair_share_farm/   Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

Jun 22

1 hr 27 min

Have you given consideration to the foundations of your farm, and your diet?  Today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast we’re proud to host Evan Folds, aka “The Soil Doctor” of Be Agriculture located in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evan got his start in agriculture by starting a retail garden center called Progressive Gardens in 2002 that specialized in hydroponic and beyond organic gardening techniques, including composting, aquaponics, urban farming, compost tea, organic lawn care, and so much more. With the creation of Be Agriculture in January 2018, Evan brought all of his experience into focus with the goal of creating a regional regenerative agriculture system in Southeastern North Carolina, and connecting this effort to the growing awareness of the power of regenerative agriculture. Tune in to hear all about The Soil Doctor’s journey to and throughout his highly specialized field of agriculture!   You’ll hear: How Evan got into agriculture 0:58 What “activated water” is and what kind of work Evan does with it 12:56 About Evan’s involvement with food deserts 20:20 Evan’s take on the motivations of the “sickness system” 38:28 Where you can find out more about Evan and Be Agriculture 56:54   About the Guest:Evan Folds is an impact entrepreneur and business strategist with a focus on regenerative agriculture. His consulting platform Be Agriculture (www.BeAgriculture.com) works with clients across the landscape of agriculture, and advocates for healthy people, plants, and planet through living soil methods. So the Earth may be healed.     Resources:Website - https://www.beagriculture.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/beagriculture Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/beagriculture/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/evanfolds/   Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

Jun 15

59 min 35 sec

Have you and your spouse ever considered dropping everything to build a farm together from the ground up? Today we’re happy to have Sunshine Vortigern of Round Right Farm on the show. Operating out of Cranesville, West Virginia, Round Right Farm is owned and operated by Sunshine and her husband, Steve. When they first bought the farm, it had no buildings or any other kind of infrastructure. Now a full and thriving farm, Sunshine and Steve are proud to be a part of the local food movement and to be living in such a beautiful corner of West Virginia. It was a rocky road to success, so listen in to hear how they plowed through the hard times and made it to where they are today!   You’ll hear: An overview of Round Right Farm’s operation 1:39 What Sunshine did before getting into farming 3:58 Sunshine’s biggest takeaways from building Round Right 5:40 What systems Round Right has in place to ensure integral tasks get done 11:34 What a day on Round Right Farm looks like 16:27 About Sunshine’s mentors throughout her farming journey 25:39 What systems/processes Sunshine would put into place sooner on Round Right given the opportunity for a do-over 35:40 How Round Right acquires new customers 39:43 The biggest mistake Sunshine sees newer farmers making 48:55 Sunshine’s favorite farming tool 55:03 What’s behind Steve and Sunshine’s decision to sell the farm 1.01: 15 About the Guests:Round Right Farm is owned and operated by Steve and Sunshine Vortigern. They met while studying the arts in graduate school. Steve is a trombonist and Sunshine is a writer (and also a violinist). While in school, they fell in love and discovered they had a mutual curiosity about living more sustainably. After gardening for one summer (and having a baby) at Sunshine's father's farm in southern Kentucky, they accepted a farming apprenticeship in Oakland, MD at Backbone Food Farm. After six months there, they were ready to look for a farm of their own. 15 years at Round Right Farm has been an amazing adventure for them. When they first bought the farm, it had no buildings or any other kind of infrastructure. The first thing they did was to move their converted school bus, which would soon become their home, onto the farm. The second thing they did was to put up a high tunnel, which was immediately destroyed by a strong east wind during the night. Despite this inauspicious start, through lots of enthusiasm, hard work, faith, patience, trial, and error, they eventually turned their 41 acre field into an organic farm, the produce of which continues to amaze them. Resources:Website - https://www.roundrightfarm.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RoundRightFarm/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/roundrightfarm/ Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

Jun 8

1 hr 10 min

How much do you really know about the vast universe of vegetable breeding? Today we’re joined by a long-time acquaintance of mine, Jan van der Heide of Bejo Seeds, located in Oceano, California. Bejo is a leading company in breeding, production, and sales of vegetable seeds. With operations in more than thirty countries, Bejo is an internationally oriented family business. Their 1,900 employees are dedicated to developing the best vegetable varieties for the present and the future. They prioritize building long-term relationships with their customers rather than going for quick wins. Join us today to learn how Jan helped build a multinational farming operation!   You’ll hear: How Jan got started in the vegetable breeding industry 2:34 What a good trial looks like 3:57 The current main breeding requirements for onions 15:12 What’s going on in the vast world of cabbage 24:19 What became of the Nelson Carrot 35:52 What became of Winterbor Kale 47:21 How long it takes to create a successful hybrid 1.01:29   About the Guest:Jan van der Heide is Northeast Market Manager for Bejo Seeds, which is a daughter company of BEJO ZADEN, a global breeder and producer of hybrid vegetable seeds. Jan's work involves working with breeders, phytopathologists, seed technologists, and other researchers to develop hybrid vegetable varieties that are widely adapted and fit today's markets. We pay close attention to disease and pest tolerance, stress tolerance, flavor, color and texture, seed health and quality, and overall ease of production. A large part of Jan's time is spent working with the farm crew in Geneva, NY, and with commercial farms to put together research and demonstration trials. These trials are used to evaluate and introduce new varieties, provide sales support and education to our dealers and distributors, and we welcome visits from growers, gardening enthusiasts, and a multitude of school groups as well. At the end of the season, all produce is harvested and distributed by local food banks. Resources:Website - https://www.bejoseeds.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BejoSeeds/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/bejo_usa/ YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV5pJjEWR1LGiSgZB3emw0w Twitter - https://twitter.com/bejoseeds?lang=en   Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

Jun 1

1 hr 21 min

Are you newly interested in pursuing an agricultural profession? Do you have countless questions for which you could really use some answers? Today I’ll be taking a break from the traditional interview style podcast to answer a few questions I received from someone who’s interested in getting into the farming life. I take a comprehensive dive into the fundamentals of what it takes (as well as what you’ll have to put up with) to have a thriving career in agriculture. If you’ve found that agriculture may be your passion, I’m here to help!     You’ll hear answers to the following questions: What training does a career in agriculture require? 1:34 Am I in a particular branch of agriculture, and what training did it require? 3:19 What natural interests/abilities do you need to pursue a career in agriculture? 6:30 Are there good jobs out there for people who chose agriculture? 8:39 How do I rate overall opportunity for advancement in agriculture? 14:48 What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a career in agriculture? 17:11 What’s my advice for courses of study for agriculture? 19:08 What are the major problems faced today in agriculture? 20:52 Why did I choose agriculture? 24:10 Resources:Thriving Farmer Podcast - https://www.thrivingfarmerpodcast.com/ Growing Framers website - https://growingfarmers.com/ Small Farm University - https://growingfarmers.com/enrollsfu Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/growingfarmerswithmichael, Your Successful Farm Business Discussion Group Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/growingfarmers/ YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk6g2uuITj9pu0JAfsqvG0w Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

May 25

29 min 16 sec

Do you love flowers? Do you love farming? If so, have you considered starting a flower farm? Today we’re joined by Lyndsay Biehl of Wildroot Flower Co, located in Marietta, Ohio. Not long after achieving her degree in horticulture, Lyndsay realized the aspect of horticulture that held her passion was gardening and growing. In 2016, she decided to put her passion before her fears by planting her first seeds and starting a flower farm. Wildroot Flower Co grows specialty cut flowers, using sustainable growing techniques, to bring you the most natural local beauty possible. Customers enjoy their flowers through the seasonal CSA, the local farmer’s market, and their custom design services. Tune in to hear how Lyndsay turned her passion into her profession! You’ll hear: What’s going on at Wildroot Flower Co 1:11 Lyndsay’s top practical takeaways from her horticulture degree 3:36 How she got the flower farm started 5:35 Which marketing books Lyndsay found the most impactful in her journey 9:24 How Lyndsay markets the classes at her farm 16:40 What classes she offers 17:33 The key elements Lyndsay feels constitute a good class 19:00 Lyndsay’s core growing practices 22:09 What kinds of flowers Wildroot grows in their tunnels 27:37 What Wildroot use for fertility 36:09 What aspects of Wildroot’s business model drove the most growth 39:23 How Wildroot Flower Co hires the right people 45:49 What the future holds for Wildroot Flower Co About the Guest:Lyndsay is a commercial horticulturist with over 20 years of experience in the agriculture industry. A graduate of The Ohio State University's Landscape Horticulture program, Lyndsay started Wildroot Flower Co in 2016 as a way to share her love for nature and horticulture with her community. She shares her passion for natural locally grown flowers with her customers through her on farm workshops, farmer's markets, and U-Pick events.     Resources:Website - www.wildrootflowerco.com Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wildrootblooms Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wildroot_flowerco/ Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/wildrootflowerco   Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

May 18

55 min 25 sec

How is the farming world adapting to, utilizing, and merging with the digital world? We’re joined today by CEO and founder of the Farm Generations Cooperative and Co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Lindsey Lusher Shute. Lindsey is a fellow farm podcaster as well, hosting the Young Farmers Podcast! She is also the founder of the GrownBy app, a farmer-designed, farmer-owned app created for selling farm products directly to consumers. An Ohio native, Lindsey first developed her love of farming on her grandfather’s land in the rolling hills of Appalachia. As Executive Director of Young Farmers, Lindsey grew the organization from a few volunteer farmers to a nationwide network with 40 chapters in 39 states and a grassroots base of over 120,000. Tune in to learn all about how she does it!   You’ll hear: How Lindsey got into the farmer space 1:29 How GrownBy charges for their services 11:31 How the Grown By app helps farmers get sales 19:58 What’s being currently developed on GrownBy 28:20 Lindsey plans to bring on new partners for the business 32:11 Where you can learn more about GrownBy 32:54   About the Guest: Lindsey Lusher Shute is CEO and founder of the Farm Generations Cooperative and co-owner of Hearty Roots Farm in Clermont, NY. Prior to Farm Generations, Lindsey co-founded the National Young Farmers Coalition and led the organization as executive director for 10 years. At Young Farmers, Lindsey built a network of 150,000 farmers and activists to support grassroots campaigns on the issues of land affordability, conservation, credit, student loans, and farmer training. Resources:Website - farmgenerations.coop, grownby.app Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/lushershute Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/farmgenerationscoop/, https://www.instagram.com/heartyroots/   Steward Resources: Steward is transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow. As a financial partner, we offer private commercial loans and the expert support services that sustainable farmers, ranchers, fishers, and producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Through Steward’s user-friendly online platform, responsible lenders are able to join us in fueling this growth and participate directly in these loans, deepening their connection to agriculture while providing critical funds needed by farmers. Certified B Corporation. Get started at gosteward.com Website: gosteward.com Online Loan Application: https://lets.gosteward.com/farm-loan Newsletter: https://lets.gosteward.com/join-our-community

May 11

36 min 38 sec

Have you considered the notion that having a ton of land is not imperative to thrive? We’re joined today by Woody DeLauder of Rootbound Farms LLC, a small suburban farm located in Southern Maryland. Rootbound grows in-season produce using no-till growing methods. They grow fresh foods and make soap, kimchi, and other handmade goods for the local Maryland community. Tune in to learn all about what it takes to be a small, yet thriving farm!   You’ll hear: What Woody’s Youtube channel is all about 1:16 How Rootbound Farms got started 1:38 When Rootbound got set up with farmers markets 5:17 How Woody got started with soaps 7:56 The inside scoop about Woody’s legal battle 17:32 How Rootbound Farms approaches marketing 25:18 What kind of peppers they grow 31:39 How they utilize wood chips 32:59 Woody’s favorite farming tool 36:22 Where you can find more about Woody and Rootbound Farms 37:37 About the Guest: Woody DeLauder, along with his wife Janine and son Arlo, own Rootbound Farms LLC. Their farm is a sustainable, biodiverse, no-till, Back-to-Eden suburban farm located in Southern Maryland. They pride themselves in growing in-season vegetables, making cold-processed soaps, and making other sustainable goods for their local community. They sell online, deliver, and also sell at their local farmers market from April to November. Their YouTube channel serves as their video diary and for informational purposes. They grow on a total of about 5,000 square feet, on a lot that is around 3/4 of an acre. They are firm believers that farms do not need to be huge operations to be profitable. Resources: Website - https://www.rootboundfarms.com/ YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/wdelauder/videos Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rootboundfarmstead Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rootboundfarms/

May 4

38 min 31 sec

Have you ever considered a fun alternative to traditional farming? Fungi, that is! Joining us today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast is the founder of Maine Cap N’ Stem, Erik Lomen. Maine Cap N’ Stem started in 2014, cultivating a variety of gourmet mushrooms from spore to store below the streets of Portland Maine. Within a year, their fresh mushroom production expanded from less than 200 sq ft to a 3,000 sq ft facility in Westbrook, Maine. In 2016, Maine Cap N’ Stem decided to drop out of the fresh mushroom market altogether and work directly with farms all across the country to supply their growing mushroom demand with ready-to-fruit substrate. Tune in to learn all about how Erik built his mycological empire and how he runs it today!   You’ll hear: About Erik’s first experience with mushrooms 0:49 When Erik started selling mushrooms 2:57 What his sales outlets were in the beginning 4:50 What building the spawn line entailed 12:14 How Erik goes about marketing 24:12 The three things new mushroom farmers need to know 38:19 What a more advanced mushroom grower could do to take their business to the next level 42:05 What the hiring process is like at Maine Cap N’ Stem 45:28 How Erik manages time on the farm 51:42 What advice Erik has for new farmers 54:35   About the Guest:Erik Lomen is an owner operator at Maine Cap N’ Stem, a certified organic supplier of commercial grade ready-to-fruit substrate and spawn.Maine Cap N’ Stem started in 2014, cultivating a variety of gourmet mushrooms from spore to store below the streets of Portland, Maine. Within a year, their fresh mushroom production expanded from less than 200 sq ft to a 3,000 sq ft facility in Westbrook, Maine. Between 2015 and 2016 the decentralized micro mushroom industry began exploding all across the country and at the time it was integral for each of these small farms to develop their own cultures, spawn, and fruiting substrate to grow fresh mushrooms and supply a self built distribution system for sales to farmers markets, restaurants, and wholesalers. In 2016, Maine Cap N’ Stem decided to drop out of the fresh mushroom market altogether and work directly with these farms all across the country to supply their growing mushroom demand with ready-to-fruit substrate. This transition set a business pivot into motion as they became the first national producer and distributor of Certified Organic Mushroom Substrate for small and large farms across the continental USA. In 2016 we moved to our current 20,000+ sq ft facility in Gardiner, Maine and began producing and supplying farms from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon with an easier scalable option to grow by skipping the intensive lab work to produce their own spawn and substrate and simply focus on fruiting and selling fresh mushrooms. Within the last 5 years they have proven the model to work and continue to support the growth and development of fresh mushroom farms around the states.  From 2019 to 2020 Maine Cap N’ Stem developed a state of the art spawn production facility and expanded their offerings from simply substrate to spawn and culture products as well as “combination substrate pellets” for farms to forward integrate and scale up into their own substrate production for a balance of options and supply chain diversification allowing a higher level of control for each farm’s independent focus. With each year that passes as we continue to grow, innovate, and develop, our goal remains the same: Help independent farms sustainably grow to supply the massive demand for fresh mushrooms across all market platforms!Resources:Website - https://capnstem.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mainecapnstemco/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mainecapnstemco/

Apr 27

1 hr 2 min

Have you ever considered adding Moringa or Hoodia plants to your farm’s production? Joining us today is Ed Rau, founding owner and President of Sustainable Bioresources. Sustainable Bioresources is a small business primarily engaged in research and development of new cultivars of plants for organic, sustainable cultivation as crops, educational purposes, and uses in new proprietary products including drugs, nutraceuticals, foods, and biopesticides. Their capabilities also include provision of consulting services relating to environmental health practice, hazardous waste management, and sustainable purchasing systems. Ed is a Registered Hazardous Substance Professional and is licensed in Maryland as a Environmental Health Specialist. He has over 40 years of professional experience in environmental health practice, hazardous materials management, and research. With such experience, his area of expertise is quite bountiful! Be sure to check it out and absorb his 4 decades of knowledge!   You’ll hear: An overview of Sustainable Bioresources 1:12 How Ed got started with the nursery 3:28 About the uses and qualities of the Moringa plant 7:30 The best way to get started with Moringa 19:21 What to do with the Moringa stems 25:58 Where you can learn more about Ed and Sustainable Bioresources 34:47 How to ship Moringa or Hoodia seeds to the US 35:24   About the Guest:Edward Rau is the founding owner and president of our company, and Principal Investigator for its several active research projects.  Ed has an undergraduate degree in biology and a master of science degree in environmental and occupational health from California State University at Northridge.  He also completed an additional certificate program in hazardous materials management at the University of California, Davis. Ed has over 40 years of professional experience in environmental health practice, hazardous materials management and research.  Prior to leading the company on a full-time basis, he worked in various positions in the private and public sectors as a chemical technician and Registered Sanitarian.  In 1978, he joined the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) as an officer and was assigned to various positions of increasing responsibility in the Indian Health Service and hazardous waste management at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  After 30 years of service he retired from active duty with the USPHS as an Environmental Health Director holding the rank of Captain.  He continued working with the NIH for another five years in a civilian position as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Division of Environmental Protection.  In that capacity, he created and lead sustainability innovation projects including the Substances of Concern Reduction Initiative and development of novel methods to facilitate incorporation of diverse sustainability related requirements into electronic purchasing systems. Over his career, Ed received numerous uniformed services and civilian commendations.  He created and led the Mad as a Hatter Campaign for a Mercury-Free NIH and developed new training materials to improve awareness of the potential role of mercury contamination in promoting development of resistance to antibiotics in bacteria.  For the campaign effort, he received the American Chemical Society’s 2005 Howard Fawcett Award for outstanding contributions in chemical health and safety.  Two projects that he subsequently created and promoted while assigned to the NIH received White House GreenGov presidential awards from the Bush and Obama administrations.  In 2009, the NIH laboratory building decontamination and decommissioning process, now referred to as Sustainable High Efficiency Deconstruction (SHED) received the Closing the Circle GreenGov award for the category Seeds of Change, and in 2013 the Substances of Concern Reduction Initiative received the award for the category Sustainable Innovation. While assigned to NIH Captain Rau carried out applied research activities relating to his hazardous waste management responsibilities.  This included development of minimization and treatment methods for mixed waste (radioactive hazardous waste) and other multi hazardous waste streams generated by biomedical research activities.  Working with other NIH investigators he also devised novel apparatus and experiments to investigate the extreme resistance of prions, the agents responsible for mad cow disease, scrapie and other spongiform encephalopathies to thermal inactivation.  The apparatus simulated conditions in a medical waste incinerator and captured emissions from burning tissues containing a thermally resistant strain of scrapie.  These studies defined the extreme conditions necessary for inactivation of the agent and led Ed to propose a new theory of agent replication by means of inorganic templates.  This work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and co authored with Dr. Carleton Gajdusek, a Nobel Laureate and other leading prion researchers. Ed is a Registered Hazardous Substance Professional and licensed in Maryland licensed as an Environmental Health Specialist.  He holds active memberships in the American Chemical Society, National Environmental Health Association, Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, the Cosmos Club of Washington DC, Medical Reserve Corps of the Hawaii Department of Health, and a newly formed local Community Emergency Response Team for the Discovery Harbour area of Hawaii.   Resources:Website - https://sustainablebioresources.com/

Apr 20

38 min 28 sec

Why is proper composting so important to a farm’s success, and how can you make sure you have the right compost for the best outcomes?  Today we’re happy to host Grant and Kate Estrade of Laughing Buddha Nursery in Metairie, Louisiana.  In 2003, Grant started Laughing Buddha Nursery out of a simple desire to be his own boss and run a retail shop that met a community need - the then fledgling but growing demand for organic gardening supplies. After Katrina struck the area in 2005, people were concerned about the quality and potential contaminants in their backyard soil. In response, Grant began composting and mixing organic soil blends to supply healthy, lead-free, and nutrient-rich soil products for customers’ gardens. In 2010, Kate joined when she met Grant at Laughing Buddha. Her parents always grew a large vegetable garden and composted and as a teenager she spent summers working at a local garden center. She never imagined going into gardening or agriculture professionally, but we know how these things can work out! Tune in to hear all of their integral and transformative composting tips!   You’ll hear:  How Kate and Grant got started with Laughing Buddha Nursery 1:50 How their store operates 6:09 Grant and Kate’s composting process 13:59 How they efficiently manage both their farm and their store 24:29 The hardest thing Grant and Kate have done in farming 38:25 What Kate and Grant would do differently given the opportunity to start their farming journey over 54:56 How Grant and Kate build their team 1.02:38 The biggest mistake Grant and Kate see newer farmers making 1.12:28 How they approach the mental game of running their business 1.19:51 Their favorite farming tools 1.26:01 Where you can find out more about Grant, Kate, and Laughing Buddha Nursery 1.30:18   About the Guest:Grant has operated Laughing Buddha Nursery, a retail garden shop that helps people grow vegetables organically, since 2003. After Hurricane Katrina, Laughing Buddha began composting to supply healthy, lead-free, and microbe-rich soil products for customers’ gardens. From 2010-2015, Grant launched and operated a commercial composting division of a sand and aggregate company. He sold his shares of this company in 2015.  In 2010, Kate met Grant as a customer of Laughing Buddha (buying worms for her apartment compost bin!) and they got married in 2016. Kate grew up in Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Missouri, served in AmeriCorps, and worked in newspapers and nonprofits prior to farming. On land that was a failed subdivision that they purchased in 2014, together Kate and Grant started Local Cooling Farms, their pasture-based regenerative livestock operation. Their farm model focuses on maximizing nutrient cycling (nature’s loop of production, consumption and decomposition) and raising livestock with respect and dignity to produce healthy protein, restore soil health, and sequester carbon (hence the name!). They also now have their composting operation on the farm. Kate has developed the farm's neighborhood delivery hub model where they sell the vast majority of their farm products (save for a few restaurants and bakeries that purchase eggs), as well as seasonal produce, chicken, lamb, dairy, fermented and preserved goods, bread and pasta, honey, and more from 20 other regional farms and producers.   Resources:Website - https://www.laughingbuddhanursery.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/localcoolingfarms Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/localcoolingfarms/

Apr 13

1 hr 32 min

What are the responsibilities of being CEO of one of the largest institutions dedicated to organic farming? Joining us today is the CEO of Rodale, Jeff Moyer. Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to growing the organic movement through rigorous research, farmer training, and consumer education. Widely recognized as a founder of the modern organic movement, Rodale Institute has been a global leader in regenerative organic agriculture for over 70 years. Jeff has served the Institute for 43 years in positions such as Farm Director and Executive Director. Jeff’s expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. His hands-on experience in organic agriculture brings a farmer’s perspective to the research, farmer training, and consumer education conducted by Rodale Institute. Jeff is a treasure trove of farming-related gold nuggets, so be sure to tune in and take notes!    You’ll hear: How Jeff got into agriculture 1:01 What Regenerative Organic is 4:11 What role no-till plays in soil health 17:05 Is there a problem with farmers adding too many nutrients and organic matter? 35:31 What organic matter level Rodale is at on the farm 38:07 How Rodale came up with the idea for their crimper 42:41 What specific mix Jeff likes to use for cover crops 54:42 How to get more farmers to switch to organic principles and practices 1.05:46 How Rodale handles pH levels 1.13:24 Where you can find out more about Jeff and Rodale Institute 1.14:52   About the Guest: Jeff Moyer is the Chief Executive Officer of Rodale Institute. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. Jeff is perhaps most well-known for conceptualizing and popularizing the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture. Resources:Website - https://rodaleinstitute.org/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rodaleinstitute/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rodaleinstitute/ YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHZBBzkVVnEB3L6rTPCgWIA LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/rodaleinstitute/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/rodaleinstitute/

Apr 6

1 hr 17 min

When you have a dream of owning and operating a multipurpose farm, what can you do to make that dream a reality? Our guests had exactly that dream, and their determination and gusto will certainly be expansive for those with the same aspirations! Today we’re joined by Chase Renninger and Allyssa Ferguson of Woodland Valley Farms in Jackson, South Carolina. Chase opened Woodland Valley Farms in December 2016 with the goal of providing access to beyond organic foods, free of chemicals, and filled with nutrients. When he's not fixing the tractor, building barns or moving cows, he likes to find fresh water springs, research medicinal healing herbs, and plant fruit trees. He also does consulting for other farmers as well as health and wellness coaching. Allyssa Ferguson joined the farm, specializing in raising premium chicken and pork. This episode is a long one, but with zero fluff... 100% knowledge, experience, and value to bolster your farming journey!    You’ll hear: What Woodland Valley Farms is all about 0:45 How their business model works, and what has changed about it 8:33 What kinds of meats Woodland Valley Farms produce and how 18:43 How they work with and process their meat birds 34:07 How Allyssa and Chase handle the educational side of their operation 42:25 What special marketing tools Allyssa uses for the farm 47:03 What type of containers they use for packing shares 56:26 What breeds of dogs work with Chase and Allyssa and what they do 1.03:04 How Chase and Allyssa manage the finances of their farmland 1.17:19 Allyssa and Chase’s favorite farming tools 1.38:44   About the Guest: Founder and owner Chase Renninger opened Woodland Valley Farms in December 2016, taking the first step toward his dream of owning and operating a regenerative permaculture farm. Raised in Maryland, he found a passion for farming and ecology at a young age. To date, Chase holds a degree in Agro-Ecology and Sustainable Community Development and has had the privilege of farming in a diverse range of ecosystems from the Hawaiian Islands, to Arizona deserts, to lush deciduous Maryland terrain, and now sandy South Carolina. Chase opened Woodland Valley Farms with the goal of providing access to beyond organic foods, free of chemicals, and filled with nutrients. He’s always learning how to be a better rancher and he loves his cattle dogs. When he's not fixing the tractor, building barns or moving cows, he likes to find fresh water springs, research medicinal healing herbs, and plant fruit trees. He also does consulting for other farmers as well as health and wellness coaching. Allyssa Ferguson joined the farm after getting her boots dirty farming in the Atlanta area. She worked in fabulous restaurants and wanted to try her hand growing the food she had been serving for so long. After lots of trial and error, she finally learned how to successfully grow the best chicken and pork. Her pastured chickens follow her around and her pigs are so friendly, they roll over for belly rubs. She specializes in raising Berkshire and Ossabaw pigs for their lovely marbling and foraging ability. As the resident "pig mom" and "mother hen", she looks after the pigs and chickens from their first day until their last. In addition to managing the farm, she spends any shred of free-time learning new butcher techniques, charcuterie, food preservation methods, and soap-making. She also loves to grow flowers and take the dog pack on long four wheeler rides. Resources:Website - https://www.woodlandvalleyfarms.com/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/woodlandvalleyfarms/, https://www.instagram.com/farmerlissie/

Mar 30

1 hr 41 min

What challenges are you facing as a farmer during these turbulent times?  On this bonus episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, we’re joined by Bob Rimol owner and founder of Rimol Greenhouse Systems in Hooksett, NH. His passion for gardening and agriculture led him to the University of Vermont where he graduated with a degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics. But Bob isn’t here today to talk about himself and his journey. His goal here is to shed some light on recent changes in supply chains and prices which are dramatically impacting farmers and their previously tried and true methods and processes, as well as giving a few tips on how to thrive during these rapidly changing times. If you’re a farmer navigating this whole new world, this is not an episode you can afford to skip!      You’ll hear:  What got Bob into greenhouses? 1:27 The big changes that have occurred in the last 27 years 3:06 What’s happened to the price of steel in the last 6 months 7:05 Bob’s thoughts on what’s to come 11:49 How you can maximize efficiency in your greenhouses 15:20 About the Guest:In 1994, Bob Rimol - now the owner of Rimol Greenhouse Systems - decided to leave his home state of New Jersey and relocate with his family to New Hampshire. Soon after, Bob began working as a sales representative for a greenhouse manufacturer specializing in structures and systems. It didn’t take long for Bob to notice a lack of innovative and quality greenhouse technology options for local growers, so Bob decided to fill that gap - and he did it by founding Rimol Greenhouse Systems. Bob contacted Mike Marett, a fellow UVM graduate, and combined their expertise in horticulture and engineering - along with a mutual entrepreneurial spirit - to construct the first RGS Greenhouses. The goal for the first two greenhouses was simple: to utilize the best features of pre-existing greenhouses, and to offer a low-cost, high-quality greenhouse alternative. Soon after, the Northpoint was developed as a dynamic multi-functional growing and retail house. The Northpoint was designed to endure heavy snow and wind loads in order to withstand the rugged New England climate. Rimol Greenhouse Systems now offers over 10 unique free-standing greenhouses. From the gutter-connected Matterhorn to the Rolling Thunder – one of the first mobile commercial greenhouses – RGS continues to set the market standard for innovation, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Today, Rimol produces additional products for growers, including shade structures, benches, and an entire line of products to complement our industry-leading growing structures. Fast forward two decades and RGS has an industry-respected brand name synonymous with quality and unrivaled durability. While the company has added six new full-time employees, donated dozens of structures to non-profits, universities, and research facilities, constructed a new 32,000 square foot production facility, has a robust Facebook following of over 120,000 greenhouse enthusiasts, and expanded into markets spanning North America, Rimol Greenhouse Systems continues to focus on meeting the individual needs of every customer.   Resources:Website - https://www.rimolgreenhouses.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rimolgreenhouse

Mar 26

17 min 36 sec

What does it take to build a thriving farm in cold, harsh climates?  Joining us today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast is Stan Bialecki of Bialecki Farms. Stan and his wife, Amy, are the owners and operators of Bialecki Farms. They’re located in the northeast mountains of Pennsylvania, which they’ve lovingly dubbed “Alaska, Pennsylvania.” Beginning the homestead with the intention to grow for their family, now with over 20 years of farming experience, they proudly grow fresh, local vegetables for the community. There’s plenty of history and knowledge that comes with such a refined process, and Stan certainly doesn’t hold back during this enlightening episode!   You’ll hear: What farming is like in the mountains of Pennsylvania 1:57 How Stan got started with Bialecki Farms 3:00 How Stan works with tunnels 5:19 About the primary markets for Bialecki Farms’ products 11:00 What kinds of crops Stan grows 15:31 How Stan decides on new crops 21:22 How Stan manages pests in the greenhouse 26:00 How Stan and Amy divide roles on the farm 31:24 The hardest part of being a farmer for Stan 33:10 What Stan would do differently given the ability to go back and start again 33:41 The biggest mistake Stan sees newer farmers making 38:31 How Stan sets up LED lights 40:10 How Amy grows microgreens 44:15 Stan’s favorite farming tool 44:34   About the Guest:Bialecki Farms is a market farm in northeastern Pennsylvania focusing on year-round production of hydroponic greens in addition to an assortment of seasonal crops. The farm's growing practices use a combination of old and new technologies from high wheel cultivators to high tech greenhouses. Our produce can be found at area farmers markets, grocery stores, and restaurants.   Resources: Website - https://www.bialeckifarms.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bialeckifarms Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/stanbialecki/,  https://www.instagram.com/amy_at_bialecki.farms/ YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtWM36FdWOKjf4qhjGyY_6w

Mar 23

49 min 23 sec

Are you having trouble getting a grasp on the delicate science of soil health?  If so, you’re certainly not alone and we’ve got your back! Today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast we’re joined by Emily Newman, Organic Soil Consultant at Rodale Institute. Emily helps farmers navigate organic compliance as they transition to certified organic. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management, focusing in Soil Science, from Pennsylvania State University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Food and Agribusiness from Delaware Valley University. She is IOIA trained, a Certified Crop Advisor, and serves as a board member for the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). If you’re considering transitioning your farm to certified organic, or just want to learn more about healthy soil, you’re in the right place!   You’ll hear: What got Emily into farming 1:21  What a normal day looks like as an organic soil consultant 2:51 What Emily has found to benefit soil pH levels 6:38 How farms should go about soil sampling and testing 11:20 The steps involved with transitioning to organic 15:34 What farmers typically do during the wait period for transitioning to organic 26:18 Emily’s favorite transition strategy 40:25 Where you can find out more about Emily and Rodale Institute 43:12   About the Guest: Emily joined the Rodale Institute consulting team in January 2020 and helps farmers navigate organic compliance as they transition to certified organic. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management, focusing in Soil Science, from Pennsylvania State University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Food and Agribusiness from Delaware Valley University. Prior to joining the team at Rodale Institute, she worked in regulatory compliance of organics for a certification agency and a materials review organization. She is IOIA trained, a Certified Crop Advisor and serves as a board member for the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).   Resources: Website - https://rodaleinstitute.org/consulting/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rodaleinstitute/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rodaleinstitute/

Mar 16

45 min 10 sec

Wonder what it’s like to go from corporate America to starting a farm business? Today we’re joined by Drew Sample of Capital City Greens, located in Columbus, Ohio. Drew started his urban farm in 2015 after determining that he “needed to get outside more” and finding that urban gardening was his best path forward. Drew focuses on soil-grown, chemical-free microgreens and 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef. Drew details his unique processes, his journey to spending more time in the great outdoors, and the results his farm has yielded thus far. Farmers of all kinds will glean value from this episode, so don’t miss out!   You’ll hear: What started Drew’s farming journey, where it went, and where he is now 2:24 How Drew creates “warm leads” 21:40 What the advantage has been that’s allowed Drew to get in the restaurants’ business? 24:18 About the range of crops Drew grows on the farm 29:39 What happened on Capital City Greens farm when COVID-19 took the limelight 37:43 What Drew would change towards the beginning of his farming journey 50:11 What the current activity of Drew’s business looks like 52:57 Drew’s advice for beginning farmers 55:15 Where you can find out more about Drew and Capital City Greens 59:03 About the Guest:Drew Sample is the owner and operator of Capital City Greens. Capital City Greens is an Urban Farm in Columbus that, pre-pandemic, was servicing 40 restaurants in the Columbus, Ohio Metro area. Drew built his business from the ground up with traditional word of mouth advertising.   Resources:Website - https://capcitygreens.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Capital-City-Greens-212042289389823/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/capcitygreens/

Mar 9

1 hr

Have you ever wondered about ranching versus farming? What are the structural differences, and what kinds of opportunities can those differences provide? On today’s episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast we’re joined by Tim Peterson of Arizona Grass Raised Beef. The cattle on the Arizona Grass Raised Beef ranch spend their lives foraging for naturally occurring grasses on free-range ranch land, while soaking up the Arizona sunshine and living their best life...the way nature intended. Their boutique USDA inspected plant gives them the unique ability to humanely harvest one animal at a time! In-house, they dry, age, and hand-cut their steak as well as make ground beef and various sausages exclusively with organic spices (but NO sugar or stuff you cannot pronounce). They proudly commit to raising the cleanest, safest, healthiest, and most flavorful beef available. Tune in to hear all about how they do it!    You’ll hear: How Tim got started ranching 1:17 What a typical week looks like for Tim 4:38 About Arizona Grass Raised Beef’s process with cattle genetics 9:55 The typical cost of farmland in Arizona 12:37 How Tim went about funding his processing plant 18:24 What variations of products Arizona Grass Raised Beef makes 26:57 How Tim developed relationships with the right chefs 34:04 How many employees Arizona Grass Raised Beef has, and how they find good help 39:16 How Tim developed his marketing plan 41:58 How much beef they process weekly 43:09 How Tim keeps track of and ensures completion of essential tasks 46:24 What Tim believes is the biggest mistake newer farmers and ranchers make 50:56 Tim’s favorite ranching tool 52:59 Where you can find out more about Tim and Arizona Grass Raised Beef 53:21   About the Guest:Tim is the co-owner of Arizona Grass Raised Beef and an Arizona cattle rancher. He operates a USDA inspected processing plant, as well as a USDA commercial kitchen. Arizona Grass Raised Beef  is your true ranch to table Grass Fed Beef operation. They practice Regenerative Agriculture by purchasing run down, non-functioning ranches and rebuilding them with their crews and cattle genetics.Their beef is certified by the American Grass Fed Beef Association.   Resources:Website - https://azgrassraisedbeef.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/azgrassraisedbeef/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/azgrassraisedbeef/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/azgrassraised

Mar 2

55 min 20 sec

What is MarketLink and how can you use it to leverage your farm’s profitability and help your community at the same time? Joining us for this special bonus episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast is Amy Crone, Project Manager of MarketLink. MarketLink is a program of the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Program (NAFMNP). In partnership with the USDA and Novo Dia Group, MarketLink assists direct marketing farmers and farmers markets with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Retailer Application and connects them with free app-based SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) processing equipment (TotilPayGo). Marketlink also offers options for integrated credit/debit payment processing. They have a long-term vision of sustainability for farmers and markets through a broader customer base, increased sales, and profitability. Tune in for in-depth detail regarding a great way for your farm to get more local food into your communities!   You’ll hear: What MarketLink does 1:39 Who qualifies for this program 3:03 How a farmer or farmers market should go about getting set up with the program 6:12 The most commonly asked questions about MarketLink, and Amy’s answers to them 7:48 What the typical consumer asks about the SNAP program 9:34 What type of sales a typical farmers market sees through SNAP 12:04 The best practices in setting up the program to get buy in from customers 14:20 What things you should be aware of when starting up with this program 16:25   About the Guest: Amy Crone is the Project Manager for MarketLink, a national initiative developed in collaboration with USDA to increase acceptance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at farmers markets. MarketLink, a program of NAFMNP, is the only app-based means of accepting SNAP available, & since its start in 2013 has enabled sales of more than $43m in SNAP and more than $95m nationwide in overall electronic sales by farmers markets and direct marketing farmers. Formerly, she was the Executive Director of the Maryland Farmers Market Association (“MDFMA”), a nonprofit organization that she founded in 2012. Crone is a nationally recognized expert on federal nutrition assistance programs, who has experience in speaking to a variety of audiences across the country about farmers market and agricultural issues. She lives on a small farm in Maryland with her husband and two children.   Resources:MarketLink Website - https://www.marketlink.org/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mymarketlink Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mymarketlink

Feb 24

19 min 26 sec

Have you ever considered embarking on your dream farming journey solo? On today's episode, we’re joined by Jackson Holt, the owner/operator of Phoenix Farm, located in McLeansville, NC. He grows fruits, vegetables, and plant starts without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and offers his products to the local community in North Carolina to be picked up on-farm. Amazingly, he runs the entire operation practically by himself, while still keeping up with premium farming standards and procedures. Tune in to find out how he pulls it off!    You’ll hear: How Jackson got started in farming 1:21 What Jackson’s vision was when starting his farming operation 3:09 How Jackson stays organized on the farm 4:57 What systems Jackson has in place on the farm 6:37 Why Jackson focuses on carrots 11:35 How Jackson prepares soil for growing carrots 16:08 What Jackson does to ensure efficient germination 20:53 What his cultivation process looks like 23:47 What he uses for seeding 26:45 What time of the year he starts harvesting carrots 33:33 Why Jackson feels that it’s important to tone down operations during the wintertime 34:58 What Jackson would change at the start of his farming journey if given the opportunity 38:34 How long Jackson’s been farming 44:09 What advice Jackson would give himself as a new farmer 46:15 About the range of crops Jackson grows and how that has changed over time 47:16 What kind of farmers market Jackson runs 55:15 Jackson’s favorite farming tool 58:55 Where you can find out more about Jackson and Phoenix Farm 59:43 About the Guest:Jackson Holt is owner/operator of Phoenix Farm, a small operation just outside city limits of Greensboro, NC, where he grows a mix of vegetables (with emphasis on carrots) primarily for a local farmer's market.   Resources:Website - https://www.phoenixfarmonline.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/phoenixfarmonline/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/phoenixfarmonline/

Feb 23

1 hr 5 min

Most of us know that farms can be very scenic, serene, and fun! Have you ever considered monetizing that atmosphere to recharge the batteries of travel-worn RVers?  This week, Lisa Manning, head of member success, joins us to talk about what she and Harvest Hosts do for the community. Harvest Hosts’ goal is to change the way RVers adventure. They offer a truly unique way for RVers to meet other travelers, stay overnight in gorgeous settings, and create memories that can’t be made in a retail parking lot. Join us today to learn all about how Lisa and Harvest Hosts have made farm serenity a revitalizing attraction!   You’ll hear: How Harvest Hosts started 1:47 How Harvest Hosts works 3:06 The primary demographic of members 5:45 What types of farms they have for host locations and what makes them a good fit 6:36 How space is managed for the RVs 8:38 How Harvest Hosts impacts the towns where they’re located 9:58 How to apply to be a host 15:25 What’s new and exciting at Harvest Hosts 18:50 Statistics and demographics involved with Harvest Hosts 24:22   About the Guest:Harvest Hosts connects thousands of RVers with farms, wineries, breweries, golf courses, & attractions to support local businesses. Always FREE for our hosts!   Resources:Website - https://harvesthosts.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HarvestHosts Instagram -  https://www.instagram.com/harvesthosts/ YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/c/HarvestHosts

Feb 16

27 min 41 sec

Is your personal farming hobby outgrowing your need for crops? Ever thought of monetizing the surplus?  Our guests this week sure have, and they took it a couple steps further as they grew a full thriving farm! This week’s Thriving Farmer Podcast proudly features Lex and Beth Antoinc of Providence Hill Farm. Providence Hill Farm is a family run regenerative vegetable farm nestled in the heart of King Township between Nobleton and Schomberg, Ontario. Their unique regenerative methods focus on improving soil health by increasing organic matter using cultivation methods that do not disturb the soil structure. The aim is to increase biodiversity, water retention, crop health and, most importantly, nutrient density. Although they are not a certified organic farm, their methods far exceed the requirement of organic certification. Join us as we discuss how they organize and run their unique operation!   You’ll hear: Why Lex and Beth decided to start selling the crops of their farming side project 1:37 How Providence Hill approach farmer’s markets 3:51 How Providence Hill has widened their production 6:52About the unique methods Beth and Lex utilize when creating salad mixes 9:56 How Lex and Beth maintain a “relaxed” schedule while keeping productive 12:49 How they go about increasing the average value of transactions for existing customers 25:11 What Beth and Lex would change about their farming operation given the opportunity to turn back time 35:25 Why Providence Hill keeps their help (primarily) in the family 40:14 The biggest mistakes Beth and Lex see newer farmers making 50:59 How they distribute compost 59:46 Their favorite farming tool 1.00:52 Where can you find out more about Lex, Beth, and Providence Hill Farm 1.08:29   About the Guests:Beth and Lex moved to their 12.5 acre property about an hour north of Toronto 16 years ago with the goal of raising their 3 kids in a rural setting and growing some food for themselves, as well as dabbling in some cut flower production and on-farm dog boarding to supplement their income while still allowing them to both work from home while raising the children.  Over time Lex became extremely interested in some of the newer small scale farming techniques and the family began building their market farm.  Now in their 5th year of farming, all 3 of the kids are fully involved in the business as well. Providence Hill Farm grows salad greens, market vegetables, microgreens, edible flowers and cut flowers using all-natural, regenerative farming techniques, focusing on low/no till methods, heavy compost amendments and the use of 13 caterpillar tunnels for season extension.  They are also in the process of adding a mushroom grow room to their operation, and a new on-site farm store for retail sales which will include an attached licensed kitchen/ workshop space.  They are expanding their sales to include a market-style point system CSA this season for the first time, in addition to their farmers market sales.  They are also continually expanding their line of value-added items as well as bringing in items such as meat, fish, grains etc from other farms in their area. They firmly believe that the key to a successful family run farm is to continue to evolve and adapt the strategies for running the operation to match the current life stages, needs and personalities of the people who are involved in the day to day running of the farm. Resources:Website - https://providencehillfarm.ca/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/providencehillfarm.ca  Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/providencehillfarm.ca/

Feb 9

1 hr 9 min

Joining us today is Kim Goodling, owner of Vermont Grand View Farm. Vermont Grand View focuses on low impact sustainable farming with attention to raising high quality Gotland sheep, which conform to Swedish standards, and producing heirloom wool products. They’re passionate about sharing their farm with others with wide-open arms to all guests to their rural community who wish to experience farm life. Tune in to find out all about farming with sheep and the surprising diversity within the field!    You’ll hear: How Kim got started working with sheep 1:07 About the history of sheep in Vermont 4:41 Why Kim chose Gotland sheep 6:45 About different types of sheep and what can you do with them 13:45 What the main sources of income are for Vermont Grand View 17:57 What kind of accommodations are set up on the farm 28:32 About the mentoring program offered by Vermont Grand View and how it got started 32:13 What the future holds for Vermont Grand View 36:21 What Kim would do differently if she started over 38:35 How Kim dealt with potential overwhelm while building the farm 43:26 Kim’s favorite farming tool 45:00 Where can you find out information about Vermont Grand View’s mentoring program and farmstays 49:39   About the Guest:Kim Goodling is shepherd and owner of Vermont Grand View Farm. She and her husband raise Gotland sheep, a unique breed whose genetics date back to the Vikings on Gotland Island, Sweden. Being a typical Vermont hillside farm, they have diversified by offering their own maple syrup and by inviting guests to experience rural farm life first hand through farmstay vacations. Kim also offers a mentoring program to other shepherds.   Resources:Website - https://www.grandviewfarmvt.com, https://www.vermontfarmschool.com/  Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/vermontgrandviewfarm, https://www.facebook.com/groups/profitableshepherding Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/vtgrandviewfarm/

Feb 2

52 min 7 sec

What is the Value Added Producer Grant, what can it do for your farm, and what does it take to be eligible for it? Joining us today is creative agriculture strategist Ellen Rawley. Ellen works with farms doing custom product development, product launches, trafficking and certifications, and much more. She works with local & artisan food products made in-house or by real-food co-packers as well as branded products for retail stores (brick and mortar & online). As some of you know, the Value Added Producer Grant deadline is approaching fast, which is why, for this episode, we’ll be focusing on the details of this grant, how you can get it, and what it can do for your farm’s finance!    You’ll hear:  How Ellen got started in creative strategy 1:58 What Ellen considers to be value added products 3:56 About value added rewards 6:08 Some common reasons why people opt out of doing value added 10:54 What the Value Added Producer Grant can do for farmers 16:37 What you need to be eligible for the Value Added Producer Grant 20:30 What farmers can get grants for 29:26 What Ellen’s advice is for those aiming for the grant 34:36 Where you can learn more about Ellen and how she can help your farm 37:38   About the Guest:Ellen Rawley, founder of Ellen Rawley Creative & Strategy, works with farmers and other integrity-based product businesses to launch & sell profitable products. Her specialties include cGMP and organic compliance, product development, and go-to-market strategy. Her interest in values-based markets has led her to study the success of the fair trade movement in Germany and England, to launch a jam line for an olive oil ranch that was featured in the debut of Martha Stewart's American Made shop, and to found Ellen Rawley Creative & Strategy. Products she has helped launch can be found in grocery stores like Mollie Stones, specialty shops like BiRite market, magazines like Food & Wine, and high-end spas like the Mohonk Mountain Resort.  She believes that products made with passion and conviction can change our relationship to the land and to each other.    Resources: Value Added Producer Grant Information:  https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants Website - www.ellenrawley.com Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/EllenRawleyConsulting Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rawleycreativestrategy/ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-rawley-a2894b24/

Jan 26

42 min 9 sec

What’s the oldest thriving organic farm in Vermont and how have they grown throughout the years? Find out today from Howard Prussack of High Meadows Farm, located just a short drive from the center of Putney, Vermont. High Meadows Farm is a 65 Acre farm of rolling hills and fertile soils, surrounded by oak and maple woodlands. As Vermont’s oldest certified organic farm, High Meadows has been providing the community and greater New England with premium organic vegetables and potted plants since 1979. The land has been used for farming as far back as the 1700s when it was once part of the historic Ranney family farm, the first settlers in town. A farm (and a farmer!) with so much history must be rich in knowledge, so be sure to check this one out!    You’ll hear: How Howard began his farming journey and what’s happened since 0:45 What kind of tunnels Howard uses on the farm 20:54 How the growing season progresses on High Meadows Farm 23:56 Whether Howard prefers larger or smaller greenhouses 25:25 What kinds of field crops High Meadows Farm grows 37:02 How Howard’s team is assembled 44:12 The story behind their farmer’s market 54:38 When, Howard believes, is the best time to start a farm 1.01:34 The biggest mistake Howard sees newer farmers making 1.02:11 Where you can find out more about Howard and High Meadows Farm 1.10:10   About the Guest: High Meadows Farm is a 65 Acre farm of rolling hills and fertile soils, surrounded by oak and maple woodlands. Situated just a short drive from the center of Putney, VT, Vermont’s oldest certified organic Farm. High Meadows has been providing the community and greater New England with premium organic vegetables and potted plant plants since 1979. High altitude, cool evenings, and mineral rich soils are key to High Meadows’ sweet nutrient rich vegetables. This land has been used for farming as far back as the 1700s when it was once part of the historic Ranney family farm, the first settlers in this town. Prior to its purchase in 1979, the farm was primarily run as a dairy farm. Four and a half miles from the center of Putney, VT, High Meadows farm is located just adjacent to the site where NOFA VT was founded. NOFA’s 40th year celebration was held in the High Meadows Farm barn! Howard is responsible for the sales end of the business, including sourcing new accounts, arranging promotions, and selling in new items. He does all of the seeding, manages the facility, including greenhouse and field production, fertilizing, pest control, repairs and maintenance, greenhouse construction, and trucks. Howard runs the retail business at the farmer’s market as well. Lisa manages the plant inventories, plans the production schedule, is in charge of rooted cuttings and plant material purchases, and instituted lot control. Lisa keeps the business financial records, forecasts, sales, and expenses, and works on strategy with Howard. In addition, Lisa readies plant pots for sale and fills orders and loads trucks.   Resources: Local Line - https://site.localline.ca/, https://site.localline.ca/learn/free-tools Website - http://highmeadowsfarm.com/wordpress2/farm/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/vermontorganic/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/highmeadowsfarm/

Jan 19

1 hr 19 min

What do you get when you combine solutions for both environmental and social issues? Organic farming, of course! Joining us today is Matthew Hayes of Zsamboki Biokert located in Zsámbok, Hungary. The mission at Zsamboki is to involve as many people as possible in the mysteries of organic farming. Matthew and the Zsamboki team pride themselves in growing quality goods with the least possible damage to the environment, keeping CO2 emissions low. They also focus on the diverse members of their environment, striving to operate a self-sustaining farm using their own nutrients. Check out this fascinating episode and learn all about organic farming in Hungary! You’ll hear: An overview of Zsamboki Biokert 2:03 About the availability of horse-drawn equipment in Hungary 5:26 What sheep are used for on Zsamboki 8:47 How Matthew set up the CSA 9:51 Matthew’s background with farming in Europe 12:55 How Matthew keeps everything organized on the farm 17:45 About the soil fertility on Zsamboki Biokert 24:30 What’s unusual about the tunnel design on the farm 31:30 The hardest thing Matthew has done on his farming journey 35:39 What systems Matthew would put in place sooner given the opportunity to go back in time 40:10 How Matthew set up his team on Zsamboki Biokert 45:09 What advice Matthew would give to new farmers 53:14 What advice Matthew would give to himself as a new farmer 56:31 Matthew's favorite farming tool 59:17 Where you can find out more about Matthew and Zsamboki Biokert 1.02:15   About the Guest:Matthew grew up in a large, wild garden and developed a deep love of the outdoors. As he started to see more of the world, Matthew was always interested in both environmental and social issues and eventually put 2+2 together to realize that a life in organic farming combined outdoor physical work with a positive contribution to the planet. That led him to become an apprentice on Tablehurst Farm, UK in 1987. After working on many farms in many countries in many positions, Matthew ended up in Hungary in 1995. With colleagues, they set up the Open Garden Foundation (Matthew is the director) which was an organic training farm for Szent István University, Gödöllő, Hungary.  The Open Garden (Nyitott Kert) became the first CSA in Hungary, starting in 1998, and continued through various transformations for many years. Matthew has worked as a grower and practical educator in Hungary for over 25 years and in 2010 together with friends set up Zsámboki Biokert. This is a small, commercial market garden running a webshop-based box scheme with a weekly stand also at the Budapest Organic Market. The bustling small farm also works to run programs which link the countryside with the city, and works in close cooperation with Cargonomia, the Budapest-based cargo-bike degrowth movement. Between 2016-2018 Matthew returned to England to work for Ruskin Mill Trust and set up a rooftop bio-intensive garden in the middle of Birmingham - providing food and education to young people with learning challenges. Social farming, composting, and soil health are enduring interests which offer endless opportunities to learn! Resources:Website - https://en.zsambokibiokert.hu/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/zsamboki.biokert

Jan 12

1 hr 7 min

What does it take to thrive as an organic, stockfree, community-interest farm?  Quite a lot, but as our guest today shows, it’s a climbable mountain. Joining us today is Iain Tolhurst of Tolhurst Organic located in south Oxfordshire, UK. Tolhurst Organic, one of the longest running organic vegetable farms in England, supplies in-season organic vegetables and fruit delivered to local neighborhoods weekly, via a neighborhood rep scenario. Almost all vegetables are harvested the day of delivery to guarantee freshness. They pride themselves on being able to grow as many of the vegetables as possible and produce at least 85% of the value on their own land. They believe that food should be as local as possible, and focus on buying from other organic farms in the area. We discuss the inner workings and methods of Iain’s uniquely thriving farming operation in this episode, so it’s certainly not one to miss!    You’ll hear: How Tolhurst Organic began and what it’s all about 2:00 What a community interest company is about 4:33 What Iain was doing before embarking on his farming journey 7:09 What a typical week looks like on Iain’s farm 8:45 How and why Tolhurst Organic goes stockfree 13:53 How they go about managing nitrogen 21:42 What Iain does with ramiel wood 25:00 How Tolhurst Organic reduces their carbon footprint so effectively 39:45 How Iain developed the on-farm store for Tolhurst Organic 48:52 The biggest mistakes Iain sees newer farmers making 56:50 How they manage strawberries on the farm 1.00:01 What bit of encouragement Iain would give to himself as a new farmer 1.01:14 Iain’s favorite farming tool 1.02:16 Where you can find more about Iain and Tolhurst Organic 1.06:28   About the Guest: Iain Tolhurst has been at the forefront of the UK organic farming movement for over 40 years. His 8 ha farm has won many awards, the most recent being “Soil farmer of the year”. His most recent book “Back to the Land,” a chronological compilation of many of the articles and papers that he has written during his long career, gives a fascinating account of the way his farm and business has developed with much emphasis on soil management. His earlier work, “Growing Green” co-written with Jenny Hall, has become a text book for many especially the newly emerging young people keen to get into Stockfree organic food production. For many decades he has been delivering inspirational speeches and presentations on the farm’s organic and sustainable methods of food production. His wide knowledge and experience has made him in much demand both nationally and increasingly internationally delivering presentations and educational seminars. The farm is a model of sustainability and produces a wide range of produce for the local community. Visitors from all over the world are able to see for themselves the various components of the Stockfree organic farm, from the green manures and diverse rotations to the woodchip composts and integration of agroforestry to the vegetable system. Iain has been able to maintain a viable and sustainable business on land which is not considered suitable for vegetable production. The integration of crops and biodiversity makes for a fascinating and durable agricultural system. He has been heard to say “The primary product of this farm is the culture of biodiversity, food production is the by-product of that.”   Resources: Local Line - https://site.localline.ca/learn/free-tools Website - www.tolhurstorganic.co.uk Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TolhurstOrganic Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/linsvegshed/

Jan 5

1 hr 11 min