lol! Almost had you there, didn’t I?
lol! Almost had you there, didn’t I?
My guest today is Megan Harris from Harris Family Farm in North Carolina. Megan is a former ag teacher and now works not only at her family farm. She also works with farmers markets and helps vendors learn how to be more successful. You can tell Megan has a passion for agriculture just by talking with her for a few minutes. You’ll enjoy this episode as much as I did recording it!
The following is a guest post from Carmen and Tripp Eldridge from Arden.
Agrihoods Gaining Popularity as Americans Seek Healthier Lifestyles, Close-Knit Communities and Farm-to-Table Living at Home
Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, prolonged lockdowns and produce shortages have drawn people closer to the food they consume, pushing them to make use of their kitchens and to think more in-depth about where their food comes from. Meanwhile, agrihoods — residential communities that have agriculture incorporated into their very design — have been growing in popularity among homebuyers seeking a fresh start.
Agrihoods combine the luxuries of a modern residential community with a farm-to-table lifestyle, giving those who are interested in farming the opportunities for hands-on experiences without having to make the full-time commitment to farming as a career. Agrihoods enhance the traditional neighborhood, where residents are connected primarily by their proximity to one another, by offering neighbors an added layer of community through outdoor living bonding.
I am lucky enough to work in one of these incredible communities called Arden. Located in Palm Beach County, Florida, Arden is a residential agrihood designed with a central 5-acre organic farm, managed by me and my husband Tripp Eldridge. We grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on the farm: from potatoes, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes, to bananas, papayas, and mangos. At Arden, residents receive regular farm shares and may participate in farming activities to learn more about growing fruits and vegetables. Both Tripp and I continue to be surprised how much interest and enthusiasm we receive from residents who volunteer to help us weed, plant trees, dig sweet potatoes and give farm tours to visitors.
Agrihood communities like Arden have been popping up all over the U.S. in recent years —and have been in high demand. In fact, during the pandemic, Arden saw a whopping 50 percent jump in home sales. This growing trend shows that more people are now actively seeking out healthier lifestyles and access to locally grown food and a more seamless connection to nature. By providing families with opportunities to become more involved with food production, residential agrihoods may have a positive impact on how society as a whole perceives food consumption and understands how it influences their lives.
This integration with nature also extends into the residents’ social lives. In agrihoods, the farm acts as the social center where residents may come together for social and educational activities, creating a strong community where people create bonds through their shared interests. For example, at Arden, we have a community barn that serves as a gathering spot for a variety of events throughout the year, including our fall harvest celebration and pumpkin patch, culinary classes, and fun nature-focused educational activities for kids.
These events provide opportunities for every age group – from grandparent to child – to participate in farm activities and learn, ensuring that even the next generation builds a connection to nature and has knowledge about where food comes from. Equipped with this knowledge from an early age, our children will be more likely to become responsible consumers as they enter adulthood.
Food and its consumption are inherently social experiences, so it’s important for people to talk about food and how it affects not only our lives, but also the lives of everyone involved in its production. Time after time, I have seen how these conversations have a positive impact on people, making them more aware of their food choices and creating a chain reaction that allows for a larger conversation about sustainability and healthier lifestyles.
While agrihoods are not the only solution necessary for creating a more sustainable future, they certainly are a step in the right direction. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to reevaluate the role our homes play in our lives, agrihoods present a compelling example of how our homes can enhance our lifestyles by encouraging sharing, collaboration, and a more sustainable relationship with our food.
About the authors
Carmen and Tripp Eldridge are small-scale farming experts and the current Farm Directors at Arden, an award-winning residential agrihood in Palm Beach County, FL. Managing the community’s five-acre farm, Tripp and Carmen are pioneering innovative farm-to-table living in South Florida.
I am over the moon for today’s episode. Vertical Harvest is changing the game when it comes to not only urban farming, but also with employment for people with disabilities. Today on the show, we are chatting with Nona Yehia, co-founder of Vertical Harvest in Jackson Hole, WY. Nona and her team are revolutionizing food and employment in so many ways. I think you’ll enjoy this episode as much as I had during the interview. Also, be sure to check out the mission of Vertical Harvest, as well as some cool photos and links to their website.
Vertical farming is a growing industry that uses environmentally sound practices to produce nutrient-dense food grown locally year-round, and yields more crops per square foot than traditional farming. Vertical Harvest has a company mission to grow both food and futures. The company pairs innovative growing technologies of vertical farming with jobs for the underemployed population in what has been proven in Jackson to be a successful model for uplifting local economies, providing fresh nutritious produce to schools, hospitals, restaurants, markets, and consumers, and embodies a commitment to civic participation, health, and the environment.from Verticalharvestfarms.com
The following is a guest post from Jordan McDowell.
If you have a dream of starting your own sustainable farm business, you’re on the right path. The thoughts of roaming across open fields and farmland or even the pride of owning a small sustainable fresh produce farm in your backyard may be your motivation. In fact, farming practices worldwide are changing with aspiring farmers like you, experienced, hardworking farmers, and even large farms adopting sustainable farming practices.
The question is, how do we make this work? If you’re looking to follow the sustainable farming path, you need to have a plan and know how to manage your expectations to make it viable for the long term. You can actually consider indoor farming or backyard farming first, then slowly transition into something bigger and scale up from there. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start your own sustainable farm business.
Establish S.M.A.R.T. Goals and Objectives
To begin a sustainable agricultural business, you need to identify the most important values that matter to you and write down your goals and what you hope to accomplish. These goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. For instance, ask yourself these questions:
You need specific and measurable objectives that will help keep you on track when getting started. While goals may take time to set and require a few changes before capturing your ultimate dream, the point is to create a foundation for building your sustainable farm business.
Learn New Skills and Build a Network
After deciding what type of sustainable farm you want and setting your goals, it’s time to learn new skills, educate yourself, and gain as much knowledge as possible about exactly what you want to do.
Don’t forget the importance of building a network and making new friends along the way. The sustainable farming community is growing and widespread. A network of like-minded farmers will be your most significant resource when you want to achieve your dreams. Start connecting with other local farmers, supplies, and potential customers like grocery stores, farmers’ markets, distributors, and restaurants.
Visit or attend sustainable farming events, seminars, and sessions offline and online while keeping COVID-19 safety protocols in mind (for local events). Join conversations online on forums, social media pages, and other online platforms where farmers share insights, and you can also get the latest updates and developments in the industry.
Understand Sustainable Farming Techniques
While you may know a bit about sustainable farming techniques, you may not be aware of the options available yet. Of course, you may have already learned during the research process. Here is a list of eight sustainable farming techniques you may consider for your farm:
Plan Your Sustainable Farm
Think about the crops you want to produce, why you want to plant them, what farming methods you’re going to use on your farm, and whether you have enough land to start farming – if not, consider available land renting options. Review the different categories of farm produce and determine which one(s) you want to explore. Do you want to start with vegetables, herbs, grains, canes, trees, vines, or animals like cows, chickens, goats, pigs, sheep, or bee farming?
Find as many resources as you can to educate yourself about the specific crops or animals you decide to farm. You can consider both free and paid resources to learn more about microgreens farming, dairy production, livestock farming, holistic management, sustainable land management, best practices, and other vital skills.
Create a Detailed Business Plan
Here’s where the budget comes into play. Unless your sustainable farming goal is to be self-sufficient, you must have a business plan and strategy. Running a farm, no matter the size, needs frequent decision-making, crisis management skills, and learning on the go. You might need as much as $5,000 – $10,000 to get started with an entry-level sustainable farm.
That doesn’t include expensive farming machines, daily work equipment, livestock, and other valuable items. However, with a good business plan, you can supply food for yourself while still making a good profit. That would allow you to start reinvesting quickly and scaling your farming business. Keep in mind these major considerations:
Develop a Practical Production Plan
To ensure the most efficient and practical farming operations, you need to develop a production plan for your farm. Follow these tips:
Implement Your Plan
Once you have a business and production plan in place, it’s time to implement your plans. Have a strategy to carry out each step and have a to-do list with a clear timeless so you can stay on track. This will help you become more efficient and save you money and time. The implementation phase is perhaps the most challenging as you put your thoughts into action. Just be confident of your research, plans, and preparation.
Have an Efficient Management System
From early on, have a management system for your sustainable farm operations. That will make you feel more in control of daily farming operations and ensure you’re not overwhelmed. Don’t complicate things when starting – if it’s a family farm, a simple list of designated tasks for everyone will work. But for a larger farm, you’ll need to invest in a simple but efficient farm management system for record-keeping, accounting, market evaluation, and more.
Monitor Performance and Reassess Your Plan
Running a sustainable farm, no matter the size, takes daily work and involvement. You’ll likely encounter lots of frustrations in your first year, but you must stick to your plan. It takes time to learn working strategies to prevent commodity markets and weather from ruining your crop production and ensuring a profitable venture.
So, you need to constantly monitor your progress at every step and reassess your plans to achieve your goals. Monitor your production numbers, cash flow records, performance, farm problems, and marketing trends and activity.
Sustainable Farming Can Be a Great Venture
By keeping detailed records and doing a careful analysis of all aspects of your farming operations, you can make more informed decisions for your business. It’s also important to diversify your farming operations when you face challenges like market fluctuations, extreme weather, or predation so you can continue operating.
Visit other farms, know what mistakes you can avoid, follow proven practices, understand the market, be patient, and you might as well be successful like other farmers.
Jordan McDowell is a writer and content strategist. He specializes in technically-oriented B2B and B2C content for a number of digital companies.
My guest today is Jess Vieira, Director of Sustainability at Apeel. Jess and I chat about food sustainability, how Apeel is helping reduce food waste, and her work with the UN Food System Summit.
“Pork” Rhyne Cureton is a pork expert and evangelist. Today in our interview, Rhyne and I chat about his background, how he got into the pork world, his work with Uganda farmers, and why we should pay more attention to pork.
My guest today is Jenny Sauer-Schmidgall, a farmer and rancher who has an amazing sense of humor. In our interview, Jenny and I chat about her background, why she came back to the farm after a career of modeling and acting, and why she started her own clothing line for farmers. Be sure to check out Jenny at the links below!
My guests today are Amber and Becca from the Forward Farming Podcast. You might remember Amber, a Wisconsin cranberry grower who we had on a few months ago, who is joined by Becca, a Wisconsin dairy farmer. Amber and Becca are two friends who actually met on social media and were quick to bond over their passion for all things Wisconsin. On our show today, I interview Amber and Becca about their farms, podcasting, and more! And be sure to check out the Forward Farming Podcast, Amber and Becca also interviewed me on podcasting, what I’ve learned, and lots more! Check it out here!
My guest today is Tera Johnson. Tera started out building a organic whey protein business and now she runs the Food and Finance Institute as well as Edible-Alpha, which are all about helping food, beverage, and value-added businesses make a profit.
I can’t thank you enough for helping us get to 100 episodes! Thank you to ALL our listeners and to our amazing guests for sharing their knowledge and stories.
It honestly doesn’t feel like 100 episodes have gone by. Still feels like I started the podcast last month! But here’s to the next 100 episodes!
I’m slowly learning to appreciate the journey, INSTEAD of focusing on the goal. My goal is to turn Farm Traveler into a media empire. Sound lofty? I hope so. But instead of focusing on not being there just yet, I’m learning (thanks to Allie) to focus on the journey. Focusing on each episode and the stories that are shared make it much more enjoyable. After all, life is all about the journey, right?
Katelyn Duban is a farmer and podcaster from Southern Alberta, Canada. Katelyn was not from a farming background until she married her husband. Now, Katelyn lives the farming/ranching life as well as runs the wildly popular Rural Woman Podcast and WildRoseFarmer brand.
Today on episode 99, Katelyn and I talk about how she got into production agriculture, he new hobby of raising meat goats, and how her podcast got to 200,000 downloads in 2 years! Be sure to check out Katelyn’s podcast and website at the links below!
My guest today has started not 1, not 2, not even 3 or 4, but 5 companies in Silicon Valley. One of which was responsible for creating the fingerprint scanner on iPhones! Today, Naeem Zafar and I will be chatting about his most recent company, TeleSense and how they plan to revolutionize grain management. Naeem and I talk about his experiences starting a few companies in Silicon Valley, how to know when is the right time to sell a company versus keep it growing, why he ventured into developing technology for the agriculture industry, and even his thoughts on 3D printed foods.
Naeem Zafar is a 7x entrepreneur and 5x CEO, with multiple successful exits. He currently serves as the Co-founder and CEO of TeleSense, an IoT company creating real-time wireless sensing and predictive analytics solutions for the stored grain industry. He is deeply ingrained in the Silicon Valley ecosystem and frequently speaks about innovation and entrepreneurship. Naeem has authored five books on entrepreneurship and he teaches entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley and Northeastern University. He has a graduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. More about him at http://www.NaeemZafar.com.
In this episode, we are chatting with Dale Eade, a dairy farmer and creamery owner in Marianna, FL. Dale will explain how the family got into dairy farming, what it’s been like opening and running a creamery, and the benefits of interacting with consumers daily.
This was a fun interview! I’ve heard nothing but great things about Southern Craft Creamery from friends and family that have gone there. Can’t wait to try it out myself. Always fun to chat with farmers from North Florida!
So you’ve heard about Allie and I’s boat. We love taking it out with friends to Shell Island (a little peninsula where all the locals go to hangout on weekends in the summer), fishing, or even afternoon trips with Sadie.
Truth is, I’m always scared to take it out. I’m scared the waves might be just too choppy. That the motor might breakdown…again. That we might run out of gas. Or maybe we make a fool of ourselves at the boat ramp. Honestly, that is the MAJOR reason. I’m pretty good at launching the boat, but loading that boat up after a trip…well let’s just say we are still figuring that one out.
But, 9 times out of 10. Everything is just fine. The waves aren’t that bad. The motor doesn’t stop working. And LUCKILY, we haven’t made fools of ourselves at the boat ramp.
Every time we leave, and Allie will 1000% back this up, I’m so glad we took the boat out. Being out on the boat and just enjoying being outside is always so fun and relaxing. Even with all the added stress.
So, lesson of today: Do what scares you.
I always remember the quote, “The more meaningful experiences of life are outside your comfort zone.” It’s do darn true. We always remember those moments were were, at first, super nervous of scared of. But then we remember how fun or rewarding they are.
So, for a quick personal development article on this Monday morning. Remember, do what scares you. You’ll be glad you did.