Monday, January 26, 2009

"Tilling the Soil of Opportunity..."

That is the title of our text book (actually a big binder) for the "Grow Your Small Market Farm" workshop that we started this past Saturday. If my first impressions are any indication we are going to learn A LOT in this class and come out so much better (as far as farming business goes) because of it. Our teacher has been leading this workshop for nine years now, so you can imagine she has a pretty good idea of what and how to teach the lessons. It also means that she has experience in a diverse array of farming opportunities available in Iowa. I am going to look forward to each class (except for the early mornings!).

Here are a few of my thoughts after three hours of class:
  • I was amazed at the diversity of people and farms represented. There were people ranging from almost 72-year-old market gardeners to young singles with and without land at the moment. There were people there that were already "doing" the farming thing and those that are hashing ideas out in their minds. We were one of the few livestock farms represented and I think the only (or one of a couple) that were interested (and slightly doing) grassfed beef.
  • It is great to hear a teacher say things like, "you will save money" or, "profitability is the only option". I can tell that she has a lot of good advice to pass along and I already appreciate her passion for small farm businesses.
  • How wonderful is it to be around like-minded people. We were able to hear about what other people are already doing and what they hope to do. Plus, we had opportunities to share about our farm. And, to think this is only the first class. I know that by the end we will probably learn as much from the other class members as we will from the teachers.
  • If only I had had classes like this when I was in college ... maybe then I wouldn't have taken such an extended sabbatical from college (I did finally receive an A.A. degree).
So, there you have it. Just a few thoughts from the first day of class. We even have some homework this week and we are supposed to begin working on our mission statement. Good stuff ... good stuff indeed!

P.S. The above picture doesn't really have anything to do with the class, but we received a nice clean dusting of snow and I couldn't resist taking a picture of our dun polled heifer Tabitha.

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