The food web producer’s journey begins in South Carolina.
For months, I’d been making my way back to South Carolina and looking for fresh produce.
I was starting to see more and more farms across the state and, for the first time, I started to think about what it would take to make a living in the industry.
For starters, I needed a few tools to make that happen.
I needed a job, and I needed to make money.
So, I bought some gear, got started, and made my way into the farm world.
At first, I didn’t see much of a difference in my income than the average South Carolina farmer.
I had to spend a few hundred dollars to buy a small-scale hoe and some soil for the land.
In short, I wasn’t getting a good deal.
I needed more money.
And I wasn´t getting it.
When I started working in South Florida, I made $10,000 per month, which I’d spent over a year before.
When I moved to New Hampshire, my monthly income was $1,000.
And when I moved back to Georgia, my average weekly income was only $300.
Then, in 2014, I moved into my first farm.
It was a 100-acre property on a rural part of the Appalachian Mountains.
It was a very small farm.
I started farming around the time of the Great Recession and it worked out really well for me.
It paid me enough to pay my bills and my mortgage, and it also allowed me to have a stable income.
The farm was full of kids.
My two daughters had already moved on to college and I knew my youngest daughter had to go off to college in the spring.
I thought about starting a family.
I wanted to help my family out.
But then I got a call from my cousin who owned a farm on the same property.
He was interested in working with me.
We were both looking to start a farm.
He was very enthusiastic about it.
We agreed to meet in person to discuss options.
I had to make an important decision.
I couldn’t just give up on my dream of farming.
A few weeks into our meeting, he showed up.
I had a hard time keeping my eyes off of him.
He walked over to my truck and introduced himself.
“Hey, it’s Scott,” he said.
Scott had a different name from me.
He didn’t speak English and didn’t even have a name.
Our conversation turned into a conversation about my current income.
Scott had a very specific plan for how he was going to raise money for his family.
Over the next few months, Scott explained to me the details of his plan.
As I listened to him, I could see the difference he was making.
He wasn’t taking any shortcuts, and he was very specific about how he wanted to spend his money.
Scott explained that he wanted his farm to be profitable so that he could buy groceries for his kids.
He also told me that he would pay his mortgage.
What I didn´t know at the time was that Scott would be one of the biggest contributors to a major food web farm.
Scott would eventually give up a majority of his farm, but the rest would remain his and grow his own produce.
How Scott planned to build his farm is now an important part of my life.
While I was trying to figure out what I wanted for my farm, I also began to learn about my future.
After meeting Scott, I began looking into the potential for my family farm.
The family I would soon build was a big part of that.
Growing my own food is a very common way for farmers to get out of debt.
A lot of them are making a little extra money to give their children an education, pay for college, or save for retirement.
By building a farm, Scott made it possible for me to pay off my mortgage.
He would make money off my house and buy a little more land.
I also could use the land for my future farm.
And, as I grew my own produce, I became a more knowledgeable farmer.
This is what I realized when I started my own farm: There is so much potential in the food web industry.
It’s a big, open, and thriving industry.
I’m excited to see what happens next.