Letters to a Young Farmer–Words of Wisdom from the “Radio Organic” Podcast

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Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The CCOF Foundation is pleased to partner with Community Alliance with Family Farmers and “The Farmers Beet” to launch our new podcast “Radio Organic: Sound Bites from the Organic Community.”

In our four-part pilot series, we’ll chat briefly each week with long-time organic farmers about marketing techniques that have helped them run successful, resilient organic businesses. As a part of each interview, we ask our guest farmers what recommendations they have for newer farmers on managing resilient organic farms.

In our premier episode we chatted with Joe Schirmer of Dirty Girl Produce about his new approach to produce sales and invoicing systems.

At the end of the interview, Schirmer offered these words of wisdom to organic farmers who are just starting out.

“I would try to put as much time as you can into not just learning how to farm—because I think the horticulture comes pretty easy to most people that get turned on to farming—but the most time that you can spend learning about accounting and business loans, credit lines, credit card, all the kind of small business stuff. And you're going to use all that if you're going to run the farm. It's very different than if you're going to work on a farm.

You know, the horticulture is easy, and it's fun. The hard part is going to be the economics and the social [aspects]. Your relationship with your workers, your relationship with your landlords (if you have a landlord), all the businesses you're going to interface with—both the vendors that you're going to be buying from and all the customers you're going to be selling to—all those things are really good to have strong skills in.”

Curious to hear more of episode one? Download the episode from “The Farmers Beet” podcast on iTunes and Spotify, or listen directly via CCOF’s YouTube Channel. The episode is available in both English and Spanish.

Have ideas for future podcasts? Let us know! Send us your ideas via this feedback link.

Acknowledgments: This pilot podcast series is part of the CCOF Foundation’s Farmers’ Marketing: Tools for Success series, providing tips and tools for farmers to strengthen their sales and income at farmers’ markets and other direct to consumer outlets. Funding for the series was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM180100XXXXG055.