Tonight, Local Food Cleveland hosted an event, So You Want To Be A Farmer? The panel featured local agricultural experts and local farmers who shared stories with over 200 attendees. Those in the crowd self-identified as interested in becoming farmers, already farming, or just plain wanting to hug farmers for making fresh produce available locally. I have to admit, I put on the farmer sticker, despite still being at the beginning stages of this dream…..I think we’re close enough and was further encouraged by tonight’s event. Here’s a bit of an overview of what happened.
- Morgan Taggart – OSU Extension
- Jessica Levine – Wonder City Farm & Schmidt Family Farm
- Cindy Bischof-Steinbrick – Basil and Beyond
- Darwin Kelsey – The Countryside Conservancy
- Bruce Cormack – Cormack`s Market Garden
Some of the takeaways from the event include:
What is a farmer? When your motivation is profit and you go beyond just growing for home consumption, you are a farmer.
What are some lessons learned? Understand farming is a business. You need to spend a lot of time marketing your business in order to be successful.
How can one get started?
- Get out and dig in the dirt
- Take a course > Exploring the Small Farm Dream
- Set goals – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Understand your motivations
- Participate in the “farmer reality show” by talking/volunteering with other farmers
- Understand what you want to market and to whom
- Make a list of what you know and what you need to learn
The event was really encouraging and the advice from the panelists and others that I met is priceless. So glad to be heading down this path…..