Before the farmer, the human. A path for humans and the humans who are our next farmers.
All other humans? Read on...
Before there was a farmer, there was the gardener, before there was the gardener, there was the forager...and before there was the forager, there was the human.
So there is a process I’m undergoing to make the world a more floral, edible, beautiful, alive place:
I want to first bring love and meaningful contribution to the humans in my life.
Then I want to invite and give whatever I can that might spark your inner forager or gardener…
Maybe that’s when you taste your first fresh fruit off a tree…
Or maybe it’s when you realize your accounting skills could have a profound social impact by offering them pro-bono to a regenerative farmer….
Or maybe it’s when you sit on the couch and primp and prune a few african violets and realize how wonderful that is.
Then I want to help educate and empower you to create more plant life, in your life, that springs from a desire in your heart and that fulfills you in a deep and satisfying way.
Then for those of you who realize your calling is to be the regenerative farmer: I want to help the whole community embrace you, support you and venerate you. It is time to honor and care for our farmers: they are the source of our true wealth (more on that in future articles later).
My goal, isn’t exactly to become a regenerative agriculture farmer...but to be sort of an ambassador for the regenerative agriculture farmer. Someone who helps bring attention to those who are doing the noble and world-transforming work of regenerative farming and gardening.
So my dream would be to have a house with a front and backyard that the lay person can visit and get so inspired and educated that they leave really wanting to support the regenerative farmers in their area and grow more and better plant life in their homes...and then have easy way for them to get quickly connected to the local market.
I want to use what I’ve learned in growing a business, building an audience, marketing, sales, website work, content creation, etc in a way that makes it easier for everyone to get into gardening...which will then make it easier for the few, the proud, regenerative farmers to discover their calling and get started in a community that lifts them up.
I’ve observed various plant-oriented businesses (from selling houseplant cuttings, to farmer’s market produce, to landscape services for some time now…
And I can say that most of them could benefit immensely from even just a few tweaks in their business. Some of this stuff is so obvious, so easy to implement, and so important...that I have to shut my mouth every time to prevent giving unsolicited advice.
So where do I put that advice? Well, that’s what this article is for and check out this page which will be dedicated exclusively to Austin resources to help aspiring regenerative farmers get started in their journey. I will be, as time allows, talking with many different farmers in the Central Texas Area to get together a solid set of suggestions and resources, lessons learned, etc. so know aspiring farmer gets "lost in the weeds" (literally and figuratively) when they try to start.
And here’s the thing: I haven’t done these businesses. So don’t assume I know what I’m talking about: TEST what I’m offering. The sales you make, the time and work you save will be your proof. I’m just clearly seeing a few very simple ways these businesses...that are so so very important to me, could benefit. With my (very little) experience with Non-Violent Communication, I can see that before I can offer help, I need to build trust...and more importantly, I need to spend time really asking what you, the plant-business owner, is really needing right now so that I know if what I’m suggesting even makes any sense for you right now.
So until then, here’s my "shotgun approach" of what I’ve noticed and what I would do, if I were to start a regenerative farm.
First things first: learn from others who have walked the path:
My two top people I’d recommend to check out:
I’m looking to put a list together of farmers in the local Austin area as well, I have a list somewhere...so when I find it, I will add it here.
What businesses would I look into to dip my toe in the waters of farming?
The farmers above have FANTASTIC suggestions, I do want to emphasize one of those: Microgreens.
If I wanted to start growing for a farmer's market, even in my little apartment, I know that microgreens would be my first thing.
1. I could have the operation indoors
2. I could grow them quickly.
3. All the microgreen businesses I see so far at my farmer's markets don't have basic things in place supporting their businesses (I wasn't even asked to join an email list when I purchased...) and they are still making it...which means even basic things would give you an edge.
Does that mean microgreens should be your first start? Actually: Microgreens might be the worst suggestion ever...let me explain....
Microgreens are what I have some experience with and it makes sense with my particular situation, resources, skills and context. I can see that a pattern across all farming business is that you have to take the time to first see your situation, skills, resources, context and business-ecosystem your are entering.
This is where I'd love to get to know those who want to get into farming, because its so important that advice is specific to YOUR context, your resources, needs, etc. Although I can't tell you: "this is what you should do" nor is it my place (because its not from real-world experience) I can, and I'm good at, helping you see and clarify next steps to help you move forward. So that when you start looking for advice...you know where to look and you know who to ask.
That's one way I want this website to be helpful: a local guide to get started here in Austin, but also a more clear path towards starting gardening and farming and where to look as a beginner. Hint: it won't be at your local college.