Starting a farm isn't easy. And yet we've seen hundreds overcome the challenges of starting a farm and do it. Now they're providing fresh, nutritious food to their communities in ways that we truly admire.
But we haven't forgotten what it took to get there.
As we look forward on a new year of farming, we wanted to bring you some great examples and other resources to help you start your journey!
Each of these businesses launched a farm this year or helped feed their communities in other ways. Learn about how they did it, what kept them going, and follow them for current updates on their farms.
Triple Threat's The Farm - Aurora, Illinois
Nearly a year ago, Nick Marasco with Triple Threat Mentoring installed a ZipFarm in a Chicago warehouse with the dream of using it to enrich the community and train under-resourced youth.
After 12 months, we're glad to say that the farm is doing just that!
The ZipFarm is an indoor hydroponic farm used as a turnkey solution to problems like climate constraints, construction difficulty, and inconsistent yield. Nick chose the ZipFarm because in addition to these, the equipment allows him to work and train others in the farm. You can read more about the mentoring program here.
The example to follow: Like every farmer, Nick went through a learning curve during the first months of growing. Rather than see an insurmountable challenge, Nick saw new ways to teach and learn, and embraced it. This has made him a better farmer! Nick advises other farmers to do the same.
American Heartland Acres - Stem, North Carolina
Matt Marsh and his family started American Heartland Acres with a strong belief that farming had to change and with the confidence that he could help do it.
Many farmers around the Marsh's were ill equipped for changing markets, and suffering from issues like rising prices of inputs. They had slipped into a way of life that was sacrificial rather than passion-driven. Matt knew this had to change. The cost of farming couldn't be greater than the benefits.
Using space- and labor-efficient technology and by approaching his craft pragmatically, Matt has crafted a farming model that allows him to feed his family and enjoy his profession as a basil farmer. He's known as the "basil guy" in the North Carolina towns of Stem and Durham.
The example to follow: "Due diligence" is a term thrown around a lot when planning a business, but it sometimes gets diluted with overuse. Matt is a great example of what due diligence ought to look like. He researched (and researches) his methods, hustles to form connections to potential clients, and constantly looks for ways to improve his farm.
Green Wolf Vertical Farm - Panhandle, Texas
Marre Seleska started Green Wolf Vertical Farm in Panhandle, Texas after discovering that an indoor ZipGrow farm could not only trump the capricious Texas weather, but offer fresh food to a high-demand community.
Now Marre can hardly keep up with demand from her clientele, which consists mostly of farmer's market folks, chefs (who Marre sees as food artists hungry for quality supplies), and a soon-to-be CSA group.
The example to follow: When Marre saw opportunity ripe in her community, she took it. She has the ambition necessary for a small farmer and the hustle to back it up!
Accelerating the movement
The local farmers movement is increasing in strength and momentum. New Upstart Farmers like these three are just a sample of a growing group of ZipGrowers. To learn more about farmers like this visit upstartfarmers.com.
Diving into farming?
Start your journey with a strong foundation. We recommend Upstart University. Upstart U courses provide students with affordable (only $9.99/month), easy to access courses on starting a business, setting up a farm, and managing crops.
Friendly professors and growing resources make Upstart U the best farm education platform in the industry, hands down.
Try it out here: