96. Alison Parker | Radical Root Farm | Healthy Soil and Permaculture Success from Food Forest to CSA | Libertyville, IL

The Radical Root Farm is a small family farm located in Libertyville, Illinois north of Chicago. Radical Root Farm has a unique story because they got started by graduating from the Farm Business Development Center at the Prairie Crossing Farm and the Liberty Prairie Foundation.

Listen at the Organic Gardener Podcast.com

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Alison Parker, I run and co-own Radical Root Farm, along with my husband. We are a small certified organic farm just north of Chicago. We grow about a little under 14 acres. We do vegetables, organic vegetables, we keep bees so we have honey. We also have pastured chickens for eggs, that’s what we do primarily right now, we are hoping to expand our livestock operation a little bit but we run a CSA and do a Farm Stand and we also do a Farmer’s Market in Chicago.

RadicalRootOrganicFarm

We started farming… First we started working on farms and get our feet wet and see if we liked it.  We decided to start our own business about 7 years ago, but we didn’t know how to go about doing that. We didn’t have any equipment or land or anything to do it with it, so it was a blessing we got hooked up with a farm incubator program, there aren’t so many programs like this in the midwest, more popular on the east or west coasts, so it’s a little unusual to have in the midwest. It is ideal for people who don’t have farm or equipment, it helps people who want to start an organic farming business, but don’t have anything  to help them do that. So you rent the land, and all the equipment from this program, the idea is that you rent everything and they give it to you at reasonable price. Help you grow your business over the years, for about 5 years you’re in this program. At the end of 5 years, most programs want you to move on from the program.

Ideally you buy land. A lot of farmers I think are like this, they don’t have enough income to actually buy land, so we didn’t have enough to buy land, so we got this opportunity. We are renting from a conservation organization that saved this 100 year old farm from being developed and so they asked us to be the farmers on the land. So we are able to live on the land, we are renting the farmhouse, and the farm land and we rent the barn, from them. It’s an ideal situation for us, so we have a long term lease now, where we can stay indefinitely, but we didn’t have to have that up front cost of purchasing anything. So we’re still renting but it’s a little more stable situation, where it’s much more permanent. The incubator program is very non-permanent, you don’t want to plant perennials you know

And trees?

It’s so temporary, so we’re able to do a lot of our permaculture projects we’ve been wanting to do for a long time, because we knew we were staying for a long time. It’s a unique situation then a lot of people we know. It’s been good for us.

orkestaiFarm

One of my most popular episodes is one with Erin and Alethea on the Orkestai Farm, they are kind of a similar situation  They are on a place called the Planting Fields. Which is interesting because having growing up in NY, I have been there, many times, it’s a State Park. It’s a similar story, where they were asked to run it, too. Interesting a Farming Incubator. That’s where most of my listeners are actually from, because you know Y-Combinator is the biggest business incubator in California, but it’s a big state with good farming weather.

Midwest is a little slower from the East Coast or West Coast. I think the coasts are more progressive. Around Chicago, the organic farming pool is just small, I’m sure in California it’s much higher. You would know more organic farmers.

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Hopefully that’s another thing that’s change and this woman Liz Carlisle studied the transition in her book Lentil Underground she studied farmers in Iowa, if we know organic practices are more profitable and they are better for the land why are farmers not making this transition. And Maria Rodale also wrote an interesting piece about the transition.  [spp-tweet tweet=””Why are American farmers resistant to becoming organic farmers?””] Kudos for you guys being innovators and going for it! So I just have to ask if you’re a millennial?

I don’t think so.

I talk a lot about the millennials and how they are really socially conscious and caring for our environment. I count you in there as one of those changing the world millennial’s.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Originally I’m not, we did move up here from the south a little before high school, I did spend a good amount of time in the county I am in now. I didn’t grow up in any kind of household that really emphasized things I’m into now, like healthy living, environmentalism, and organic gardening, I wasn’t really brought up in that because my parents just weren’t particularly into that.

My first gardening experience in college. I went to Evergreen State College in Washington State. That was eye-opening, I was pulled towards environmental activism, that school brought it out to me, I was doing things like I was going to Earth First meetings, and I was doing some volunteer work, the programs I was in emphasized ecological writing. I thought that was gonna be my main focus.

They have this really cool permaculture garden at the school. I had never heard of permaculture before, I was unfamiliar with that concept at that time. I started researching on my own. I got sort of interested at the same time, with food, growing food, for sustainability reasons, for health reasons, for environmental reasons and ecological growing, and it kind of stemmed from there. I started volunteering on farms for a while after college. Then I started really getting more serious after that. My first experience was as an adult. Volunteering on that farm, and just getting really interested Got more experience after that. I was volunteering on that farm and in the politics behind it, everything related and everything I’m interested. Definitely a late comer to it.

Really, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of me! I didn’t hear about Permaculture until I started this podcast last spring but on the flip side my Earth Day Guest was Heather Wood who is also a graduate from Evergreen College in Washington.

What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?

As our philosophies on organic gardening has been, we don’t want to just be chemical- free farmers, that’s what we are, we’re chemical free but we want to be more then that. Our philosophy is really growing within a permaculture concept. Where we are growing ecologically in a way that we are creating a habitat for beneficial insects as well as growing food! We do things like permanent raised beds in our fields, and our bees are really important, obviously for honey, is nice, we really want the bees to try to protect the bees, and nurture that ecological system within our farm. I consider ourselves more holistic beekeepers, where we’re not giving them sugar water because we’re stealing all their honey, we’re leaving them enough honey for the winter, because that’s more nutritious for them, the environment comes first before other things. We are always constantly trying to think of ways we can do this. Thats why along with vegetables we do plant beneficial and native plants as well.

We do borders like that. We have a food forest that is on the property, that we have been trying to establish, a lot of native plants, as well as perennials and fruit trees. We do it not in an orchard or row, using forest architecture is the idea. So we are trying to plant fruit trees and nut trees in a forest way instead of a traditional orchard row way. Within that food forest we see tons of things like monarchs, which we are always trying to think about. Trying to save these endangered insects and wildlife as well, and native plantings too.

We are always thinking and really try concentrate on the soil as well. Always trying to  think of soil fertility, we get field tests every year, not just compost, but also adding the trace minerals, and what different things we are low in, we are always trying to create a very fertile balanced, trace mineral heavy fertile soil. So that creates such healthy plants, they do not have these diseases and pests, even on organic farms a lots of times organic are heavy with pests or disease.

So our methods are just really concentrate on the soil, create these really strong healthy plants, and promoting health in the in the community. The nutritious plants that start from the ground up… that’s basically our philosophy. We don’t want to just be don’t want farmers.

Real stewards of the land! I love it, I know my listeners are going to love it! And enjoy it as much as I am listening.

How did you learn how to garden organically?

We’re really self taught in a lot of ways, we try to do as many classes and conferences as we can, we read a ton, especially in the winter. What’s nice about organic farming, is it’s really good for people who love research! We’re constantly learning things, we’re constantly researching things, helpful in the beginning to work on other farms and gain knowledge from people who have been farming for some time. Those things have really helped us along the way.

RadicalRootFarmersMkt

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

So, each year has been pretty different, this is our 7th year. Each season has been pretty different. This year was an interesting year, where it was really wet, towards the beginning and towards the end. Yes, towards the beginning, middle was really wet, and it was cooler this year as well. So our greens and our brassicas did great! Our kale, our dandelion greens, our asian greens, bok choy all those plants did really well!  Right now we are getting a great broccoli harvest. We’re still getting great broccoli out of the farm! The greens have have been really happy with those conditions.

I just picked my last cauliflower the other day, probably if I had more they’d still be growing. The later in the season the better things did.

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

We haven’t had enough space strapped, so we are actually going to be renting another plot and growing heirloom melons, which we haven’t actually done before , haven’t grown melons much before. There’s been a farmer near us, they grow melons that we have brought in before. This year we are gonna grow our own so I’m excited about that because I really love melons.

You said you have 14 acres and you’re expanding it. So how many CSA shares are you getting close to?

CSA-share+sample+RR

A little under 200 members for a CSA.

Wow! Is it just you and your husband? You must have help.

It’s a good size. We have 6 employees, I’m not sure if we are gonna have more and then we have 3 worker shares, kind of like volunteers who work for a few hours and get their CSA share as well. Kind of a volunteer program then you’re a CSA member as well.

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

We it was not a good tomato year for this area, in general. We’re still kind of new on this land, and seeing there are wetter spots on the land, but we’re trying to figure out the land. So we put the tomatoes in an area that was pretty wet, so we thought it was a good location at the right time, but the location it just wasn’t ideal for them. At one point, when we had one of our heavy rains, they were in standing water for a while which pretty much made them putter out pretty quickly after that. That was sort of disappointing. I think we’re always hoping for a good tomato year.

We did have enough for the CSA and had enough to can, and we had some for farm stand, but not many. Usually we have pretty good tomato years but just not this year.

It was a really wet year right?

They weren’t gonna be happy no matter where they were, they definitely would have struggled anywhere but they weren’t in the right place.

BrassicaField

Something that you find is easy to grow and is generally successful every-time.

I’d say probably pretty successful, even when it’s not ideal for greens, we’re usually pretty good at growing the greens, especially kale. We grow a lot of kale, and other greens as well. We do do a lot of kale, and kale’s pretty popular still, at the farm stand and the CSA. So I think that we’ve often pretty good in general, because we’ve had to be a  diversified vegetable farm because of the Market and CSA. We’ve gotten pretty good at timing things right and having a really diverse box every week. I don’t even know what our best crop would be? We do pretty good, at making it pretty diverse every week.

I think that’s inspiring for listeners, because I think a lot of people who worry what about when things don’t go right but when you say things are going well overall, it inspires people to give it a try.

I say also I attribute it to how much time and emphasis in our soil. We will be selling carrots or beets and people are amazed at how  big they are and good they are. How’ you get them so big?

And healthy!

I tell them, “the soil is really good!” It’s the energy we put into the good soil that helps with everything!

Something you would steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate

I thought about this question, Idk I would steer anyone away from anything. We did, last year we grew ginger and turmeric. It’s a little trickier here, we’re in the upper midwest, its a very short growing season here, so it’s a little trickier to do here, maybe then where the climates are a little warmer. The ginger and turmeric we grew in the greenhouse, so they were warm, they were covered, we did have to do some special things to it, if you can grow things like that and if you really put the energy and time into making the ground fertile and things like that. I can’t really think of a plant I’d steer people away from. Even a difficult plant like we planted some pawpaw trees, it’s a fruit that grows in the midwest. But they are notorious for being difficult to grow.

Does it have a fruit? OK, you said it has a fruit.

People call it a midwest banana, this yellow custardy, they’re really good but farmers are always complaining that they are hard to grow. If you put enough energy into it. For example, our food forest has permaculture conditions. To take care of the tree, planting comfrey around the tree base which helps the nutrients can climb the tree better. Things like that put the emphasis in the plant health enough, it’s not impossible to grow much around here. We’re always trying to think how we can, the colder climate, how can we eat locally around as much of the year as possible. We’re doing a lot of season extension this year. A lot of farms, shut down the end of November, or early December. We’re trying to extend and grow all year now, we’re growing greens in the hoop houses. I think it’s a little trickier in this area, things can be done that maybe you’d think couldn’t be done. For example, people think that’s not possible to have a salad in February, I’ve got to buy it form a California company, really urge people to think about eating locally all year round. It’s not impossible to grow these all year, even though our climate maybe seems like it is.

You know what I wanted to ask you did you say something about soil tests, was there a specific soil test that you said that I didn’t hear right?

Not a specific soil test. They’re all over the country, you can ask your extension agents where is the best place to get your soil tested? Our’s tells us what the ph balance, what organic matter it has, and what trace minerals that it might be lacking or have a lot of.

You actually send it out to get tested?

There’s actually a (soil sampler) tool that you can stick it deep in the earth, pull it out, put it in a bag, and send it out. For us since we have so much land we do it on multiple places on the farm. The soil is better in different areas, takes an effort to do for us but it’s worth it. You do send it somewhere, you send it in a bag and they send you a report. Simple procedure and its worth it.

So it’s like a tube and you take out like a sample of soil?

Yes, I wish I remember what it is called. Google soil testing instrument. Pretty simple tool.

My husband has a backhoe, he will install septic systems, so sometimes he does a per test or he does soil tests, but he will dig down like 8 feet and then analyze the soil. But I just bought one of those little tester kits. One of my first guests, Peggy Jane Ousley said that was important. So I just bought a little kit.

BAsil

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.

I couldn’t think of  job I didn’t really like,  sometimes I don’t feel like doing what we need to do out there, when I ‘m out there. When I’m out there, there’s different aspects I really like, I like the weeding in general, unless it’s a completely overwhelming job, then that can get kind of depressing if we are deep in a bed of weeds, that’s not fun trying to get us out of it. A lot of times, if we do lose a bunch of carrots to a bunch of weeds we decide it’s not worth the time it’s gonna take to weed the whole bed. And there’s still times that happens. So unless it’s a really overwhelming job like that I do like most everything. This morning we were actually expanding our medicinal herb bed, in the middle of our food forest, spreading compost together, so it was just us spending time as a family. We didn’t have any employees today so just us and our 2 little boys not really helping, but still there. I just really like shoveling the compost and the spreading of it, and feel like your accomplishing something and the feeling of accomplishment I really like and it’s a really nice day. Generally I enjoy most things outside!

I also think it feels like an accomplishment because you’re using that compost you’ve been working on building all year.

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.

Probably shoveling compost, when we get to change the raw manure, late end of the season, onto the beds. My sister’s always making fun that seems like such a gross job, but I like it but it makes me feel like we’re doing something really good for the soil.

We just got sheep last week, and everybody’s like why did you get sheep? We got the sheep for the manure. We got sheep for wool, but that projects way down the line. Just for the manure for the soil to try to help build our soil if we are going to expand.

Chickens

Our chickens are really important to me. I’m really adamant about the pasture raising them. They are in a a movable egg mobile, with wheels, we can bring it around the field, so a lot of areas are fertilized that way, so we don’t have to get as much compost in, as we were because we are able to fertilize with the chickens. They are very dual purpose, it’s really nice just makes me feel nice because we sell their eggs, and there are these healthy chickens that get green grass and bugs, and they are also helping enrich the soil, so it’s a cool system I was excited we got that going as soon as we got chickens. That’s been helping too on the soil.

I have one of those but it needs a new tire, and I haven’t found a tire yet. Our chickens are free now so we’re gonna have to figure that out by next spring, they figured out how to get out of their pen and get into the big garden since Aug/Sept.. The sheep pen might help. Their cage is along one side of the garden and then the sheep pen is like 3 acres around them…

Tell us about the best crop you ever grew.

I think there was actually one year, where we did have so many tomatoes, we were swimming in tomaotes. We were trying to sell them wholesale! We ended up canning a lot, we actually hired someone to help us with the canning! I think we got something like 500 jars! Something like crazy the amount of canning we got done that year. This year is definitely not like that, we didn’t even get half as many, we got maybe 200 this year. We were able to give those cans, those jars of tomatoes to our CSA the following spring! So people liked that. That was an interesting year, we thought we have so many tomatoes what are we gonna do?

I had a plan for this year, if that happened again, my idea was to have a tomato fest here, where we could have you pick, we could have canning boxes for sale, a box of tomatoes for people to can at home, ig we had that problem this year I had a solution, but we didn’t, but I still like that idea so maybe next year.

The guest I interviewed who’s show came out today is Ryan Pesch from Lida Farm in Minnesota. He talked about community and that was a fun too part of their CSA.

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

We have over the years, it’s been one thing that we’ve heard a lot from because we are in a particular business trying to make it work. Not being so stressed about things like, like the weather which we can’t some things are gonna grow better then other things that’s just how it’s going to be so don’t be so stressed. Because there is always one thing that is not gonna grow, this year the tomatoes and think even though I knew we were not gonna get a great crop from them.We are a really diversified farm and be as diverse as we can, things are gonna be better then other things.  Diversification is really strong in that way, it’s just keeping the crops diverse, and hopefully we’ll diversify more as we get more animals as season come, more livestock. We’re trying to diversify the business even more too. A good things like that when we talk to, a small but good community of organic gardening friends that we can get together with. I think that’s important for us all to remember.

My podcasting friends are huge they really help me like that too! I wouldn’t be anywhere without them! 

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.

I would say, either a stirrup hoe or a broad-fork, I really love the broad-fork. Alex does not think it’s that important. I think it’s a really nice tool. I would say if I had to, probably stirrup hoe, we do use them very often. I feel like half the time, it’s weeding that we are doing outside. Probably a stirrup hoe

On that show with Alethea and Erin, Erin’s favorite tool was the broad-fork.

Eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time? 

It seems like cucumbers, we do a lot of preserving here. My favorite method of preservation is fermenting things, so I make sure, even though it seems like we had too many cucumbers. We do a lot of fermented pickles, and hopefully we’re eating those pickles into February if I make enough. The crops that we have a lot of that are ready at one time, I’m thinking how can we preserve this one?

That does happen, for us it’s better to have too much of something, then too little, as far as the CSA and the Farm Stand etc. We’re actually pretty good at timing at this point in our farming careers. But a lot of times we will have a ton of things and we wont be able to put it all in the CSA or farm stand. I’m always fermenting or using or canning. Something like peppers, we grew too much of Beaver Dam peppers, it’s a big hot pepper on the slow food movement. There’s a movement to save them as an endangered fruit. We grow a good amount of Beaver Dam peppers, they are one of my favorite hot peppers, they are very flavorful, but they are hot, but if we have too many of them I just have them in jars of vinegar for the winter. I’m always kind of thinking of how to save our surplus for colder months.

Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last? 

I don’t know if I have any secrets. It’s pretty simple what I do, we have for the fermentation, I do it mostly in big mason jars, I do have a big crock. I also have a big gallon glass jar called a pickle-it. It has an airlock as well. Just having mason jars, I do a lot in just those too. Sometimes I’ll get ideas from books, that I get ideas from things in terms of  different things I can add to fermentation different recipes or ideas.

Before I got ideas from books, I was kind of just winging it, maybe I can ferment this or that, and it wouldn’t work out the way I wanted it too. One of my first years, I thought, maybe I can ferment a bunch of kale, and maybe it will be like sauerkraut alternative. It was just kale and then I figured out if you mix a bunch of kale with carrots and radishes then it’s ok but.

Theresa Lowe from Living Home Grown has canning classes. 

Do you have any special techniques for cooking weird or unusual foods?

I’ve been trying to be more experimental, I’ve gotten a little more experimental in the kitchen, we have two little boys, a 5 and 2 year old. So I’m always trying to think of things they will like, we don’t give them a choice they have to eat what we are eating, so they’ve actually been pretty good about it. I’ve gotten a lot of ethnic cookbooks from the library, Indian food cookbooks, playing around with more that kind of thing. I’ll be really simple, like cauliflower or broccoli, or kohlrabi, with butter garlic sauce, or butter, lemon sauce, but I’ve been trying to do things more interesting to shake up the routine a little bit. Simple recipes still, more from ethnic especially Indian or Southeast Asian type thing too. I think of things to jazz it up, which is helpful because I also write a newsletter every week for our csa, thinking of new ideas for them to cook. People will always be like, I have too much produce, or I don’t know what to do with these, or I’m not sure what I should be doing. So I try to help them through.

Did I see something about Local Thyme in your newsletter?

So I write in the newsletter and I add their link as well. They have recipes that they give according to our box. So they pick out a few vegetables in our box, it’s a team of chefs, that link recipes to our newsletter basically.

Are they local to you?

Yes, they are in Madison, WI. We’re pretty much all in the same region, they’re about 2 hours, all the CSAs are in the same region as we are. They deal with a lot of CSA farms that are in our region, Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana. Those CSAs in this area, are generally those states.

This summer my friend, we taught together, who is a private chef in Missoula she would talk about what to cook in your CSA, and people really liked those episodes.

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

There’s so many…

I thought you would say something you cook with ginger and turmeric.

Well I do cook a lot with ginger and turmeric, I kind of cook as an herbalist, I have some of that training, I did 3 apprenticeships that were herbal apprenticeships, how can I make this as medicinal as possible. So a lot of times I’ll be really consciously adding in herbs or spices that make it, that have varying properties, I’m really a big advocate of letting food be your medicine and preventative medicine and building health through food and herbs and things like that.

Ginger, I do a lot of Southeast Asian theme vegetables with ginger, garlic and a little hot pepper and lime juice, and onion, sometimes if we have basil or if we have cilantro instead of I’ll do cilantro, depends on what we have at the time.

I like big flavors. I think my family will like that as well, I like strong flavors, a lot of times, when adding a bunch of herbs, will make it medicinally even if you don’t know your doing it, different properties will do different things.

Sign up for Alison’s Newsletter for more ideas and information on her classes.

A favorite internet resource?

We’re really big library people we definitely do a lot of library research.

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

As far as books, I’ll get a few key books that I’m excited about every year. The one I’m reading now is

NourishingHomestead

The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit

by Ben and Penny Hewitt. That one’s really good, it’s an inspiring book too. He really has a big emphasis on soil health, for me, and anyone who’s interested in that kind of thing. The whole thing about having a family. Kind of making your farm, whether it’s a homestead or farm as a business making it work and making it work well.

That’s what I’m reading right now and I’m also reading one it’s called Soil, Agronomy

My friend I went to school with in Missoula,  Kavita I interviewed in episode 14 she has a little family like yours, she has bees and things. I think that was her book too. I remember her telling me she got really interested in it because she got interested in the soil. She reminds me of you.

Soil is something you can read about forever, you’re finding out about as you keep reading, part of the fun about being into organic growing there’s so many things to learn. It’s good for insatiable learners.

 

YearRoundVegGardener

I’m definitely one of those! We do have a lot of books! My winter reading includes a book by Niki Jabbour called the The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

CSAShare

Kind of depends on what you want, if you just want to do something extra. Where you whole job is, I would suggest,

When we started, we were growing on a 1/4 acre. We had an 18 member CSA and a single table at a Farmer’s Market, it was just Alex and I. Everything was really small. Before we started farming, I knew people that had really small backyard garden, that did a CSAm, with only 7 people maybe, it was super small. It was cool, it wasn’t their primary job, they had a lot of extra produce they wanted to sell, and CSA is sort of a fun community building way they could do it. Basically it brought their neighbors together. I love the CSA for a lot of reasons. Part of the reasons is the community building aspect. It’s a great way of bringing people together. People being really connected to their food, and being able to know where their food is grown. We have a harvest fest here, with a tour and a hayride, get to see where their food is grown all year round. They know us and ask us questions. We can talk a lot about what we do out in the fields.

Other then that you could just have a stand that is on your property or if you just have a yard or street, a little pop-up stand. I think that having are really small CSA is a really cool idea. I’m a big proponent of CSA’s in general. Probably my advice see if you can to gather up enough people to do that. When we started out, the only way we advertised, we had some flyers and that we posted up a few places, and we got 18 members that way. And people knew we had a stand at the Farmer’s Market.

Did you have your CSA the first year or did you do the Farmer’s Market first? 

We had them at the same time. The first year we had the CSA and a stand at the Farmer’s Market.  It was a small table.

Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

I would say, that there’s lots of things that need to be done. I would say the first thing would be, it’s a Permaculture principle, one of the first ones I ever learned. Basically the idea is to reforest the earthThat’s like the idea of why we have farm the way we do, is because I don’t want to just grow organic crops and that’s all we do. The idea is that we are actually planting native plants back into the soil. Planting trees and using that forest architecture to grow.

When I see, for us in the midwest there’s lots of the commodity crops of corn and soy being grown on farmland. And often that farmland is sadly developed, which is depressing.

What I really wish that farmland is to be growing on more of the native, or prairie style, where we can grow more of the forest style, something where we can grow food and also grow the native plants, the forest plants, incorporate both, so we can have farmland that grows food, but also has a lot of what it used to be, the prairies and the forest etc. I think it can both happen. it just takes a little work to make it happen. That’s why I am really interested in permaculture because I think it really incorporates those ideas in it. That would be my number one thing.

Make sure you sign up for Alison’s newsletter so you can learn more from her.

Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

Just get empowered and get motivated and get inspired! Anyway you can, whether it’s reading books, or perusing the library the organic gardening or farming section. Get inspired to get started small, and not get overwhelmed for it, just thinking about planting not necessarily all my food. Think about planting native plants along with it. Just getting like a few and see how it works. Start small and grow from there. that way you don’t get overwhelmed. And you get excited by seeing the results from the little things that you do. So start small.

Yeah, we’ve been working on our place for over 20 years, and starting small. We definitely had the little beds with triangle fences.

How do we connect with you? 

If you go to our website Radical Root Farm.com from there you can see info classes for the classes, that I teach. Here’s the link to Alison’s Blog. Make sure you sign up for her newsletter!

 

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If you have any comments, questions, guests you’d like to see, or topics you’d like us to cover please send us any feedback positive or negative. We’re here to serve our audience and we can only improve with your help!!! Thanks for visiting Mike’s Green Garden changing the world one garden at a time.

 

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