325: Liz Whitehurst on Starting a New Small Farm.

Operating a small-scale diversified farm.

Liz is the owner/operator of Owl’s Nest Farm, small-scale diversified vegetable farm 15 miles outside Washington, DC.  Before starting her farm, she worked on a wide variety of farms and gardens as a grower and educator, including the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Angelic Organics Learning Center.

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Owl’s Nest Farm grows unique, delicious, nutritious, diverse vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit on four acres. Liz was recently featured in a Washington Post article about how young farmers are changing the food system.

In This Podcast:

Growing up in an urban community in Chicago would not normally lead a person to choose a farming lifestyle, but during her college years several things led her to the agriculture career she has now. Liz Whitehurst tells us about the nudges that pushed her this direction as well as the amazing opportunity that came her way at the right time.  She also shares some useful tips that can help any new farmer who is working their own CSA program. We also hear a heartwarming story of her five-year old customer who missed his peashoots!


Listen in and learn about:

  • Grew up in suburban neighborhood in Chicago 
  • Getting her education and learning about being involved in her community, as well as eating better
  • Buying a farm operation outright
  • Taking a trip to the Owl’s Next Farm
  • The crops she grows for her diverse customer base
  • What a CSA is and how her farm’s CSA is set up in a way to allow for flexibility
  • Planning for a CSA type of crop
  • Diversifying her crops with shared risk and rewards
  • Successive crops to help ensure consistent harvest
  • High tunnels – season extension option on a farm
  • Getting help from local extension offices to get high tunnels
  • National Young Farmers Coalition
  • The 5-year-old boy who loves her peashoots so much that he went to the restaurant that got her entire weeks harvest.

As well as:

  • Her failure – over-mulching her strawberry field
  • Her success – making a living as a full-time farmer
  • Her drive – she really likes working and enjoys what she does
  • Her advice – You CAN do your dreams; and the farming community is very collaborative!

Liz ’s Book recommendations:      

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition by Jeff Lowenfels

How to reach Liz:    

Website: owls-nest-farm.com

Instagram: @owlsnestfarm

Facebook: @owlsnestfarmMD

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