241: Jared Gulliford on Millennial Farmers.
Starting a farm from scratch as an urban-raised millennial.
– – – –At the age of 25, Jared moved back to the land he grew up on to start a farm. Gardening since he was a teen, he became interested in agriculture while at University. Now, he is striving to produce food to share with, and nourish, his community while teaching others along the way. Taking advantage of an opportunity when his sister and her family bought the land next to their parents, he’s attempting the multi-generational farm dream in the middle of suburbia. On degraded soil and with ten thousand dollars, he started from the ground up. Although Jared is the only farmer at this point, he hopes friends and family will join as the project becomes further established.
Despite start-up expenses, infrastructure needs, vehicle repairs, and everything else; he survived, and the inaugural year of Earth First Farm was a success. He has a ½ acre market garden, and homestead quantities of livestock then he plans for the farm to evolve from a working venture to a place for education and reconnecting with nature. Jared is also the curator at Dr. Jim Duke’s Green Farmacy Garden in Fulton, Maryland; a sanctuary with over 300 species of native and non-native medicinal herbs.
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In This Podcast:
Being young and not having any land or farming experience did not stop Jared Gulliford from developing a plan and a dream to have his own farm. He shares his story about how he came to the decision to pursue a living as a farmer, where he got his training and experience, and how he transformed his family’s properties into a farm. Then once he got there he had to change the soil and he did this using elbow grease and old-fashioned techniques so that he would not have to use chemicals because he cares about what he sells.
Listen in and learn about:
- His early gardening at age of 6 or 7 years old growing watermelons in the sandbox
- Learning more at age 19 and starting his garden
- Interning at Sycamore Spring Farm in Fredrick, Maryland
- Graduating college at age 21 with a 2-year Jazz based degree and a 4-year degree in English Literature
- Moving to a tree house in New Hampshire in the white mountains, D Acres and completing a 2-year permaculture internship
- Going back to Sycamore Spring Farm while planning for his own adventure
- Spending a year in the corporate world and learning he did not want to do that any more
- Learning from Andrew Schenker at Green Star Farm in Blacksburg, VA
- More learning at Highland Farm in Blacksburg
- Moving to the land he grew up on when his sister bought land next to his parents
- Starting from scratch to begin farming on this land
- Having completed his first year
- Going back a generation to find farmers in his heritage
- Recognizing the diversity on his uncle Chet’s successful farm
- Jared’s definition of permaculture
- What he grows on his farm
- His climate challenges and what he is doing to help grow tomatoes
- Starting with soil a pH at 5.5 an dhow he tackled that to make his soil healthy
- Growing beyond organic through physical barriers and moisture control
- How improving the soil helps plant battle off pests
- Where he sells his produce and how he plans to sell his crops in the future
- How he found the restaurants and how his persistence is paying off
- His goals of a comfortable life and still maintain a work life balance
- The energizing interactions at the farmers market
As well as:
- His failure – having a thousand feet of tomatoes that were eaten be a deer herd
- His success – surviving the first year, despite any of the naysayers
- His drive – Vegetables. He is very particular about what he eats and he loves picking his own fresh vegetables from his garden, or bartering at the farmers market to get the rest of the meals
- His advice – Start small – don’t take out large loans, don’t till up two acres and try to do it all by yourself, set a budget, and start from there.
Jared’s Book recommendations:
The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land by Curtis Stone
The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-scale Organic Farming by Jean-Martin Fortier
How to reach Jared:
Facebook: Earth First Farm