We all know farming has been on the downslide for decades. But in some measurable ways, it's starting to take on a resurgence, mostly in the form of small, urban farms. Farmers markets are full of buyers and sellers, and many growers are earning an income through CSA shares, where customers pay up front for produce delivered weekly all season long. The backlash to the industrial food complex is persuading many of us to eat differently and even some of us to give up corporate careers to be the producers of naturally raised and organic food. Well, most of us have dreams of fully giving up our careers while we tepidly put a toe in the farming waters. It's still a risky business.
But many like-minded people are giving it a go. Take the Grow Your Farm course offered through the MU Extension Michael and I took this winter. The 11-week class offered us more than expert speakers on topics ranging from resources, insurance, marketing, finance and more. We made new friends of fellow wanna-be farmers -- all of whom, interestingly, were choosing different paths under the wide umbrella called agriculture. One wanted to start a market garden, another to create a place for art and herbs; there was an elderberry grower, grape grower, pork producer, gluten-free baker, and then there was us. We started the class not knowing exactly what we wanted to do with our land. By the end, we had narrowed it down to a workable plan: a farmstead B&B using fresh produce, eggs and honey to supply our overnight guests with groceries and meals, as well as access for them to explore the farm.
The word we kept coming back to was: experiential. We want people to enjoy the same pleasures we have here at the farm -- without them having to do the actual work, of course.
Anchor/Reporter Abby Eden of Fox 4 picked up on the back-to-the-land trend and showed up at our class one evening to take notes. Inspired by our agritourism slant, she asked us to be part of an in-depth story she was working on about new farmers. She visited us in December and put together an accurate look at our lives -- including the bantering in Michael and I's marital relationship! We definitely laughed out loud at some of the sound clips they chose to represent us!
We don't have much to offer the public at this point, but as we continue to design and build this farm and the B&B next door, this exposure gives us extra motivation to keep moving forward!
Check out the video link here: Back to the Farm