Why did you begin farming?
We teach a class called “The Dream Giver,” and while meeting with a couple who had a dream of establishing an organic farm, we caught the dream. Our dream was different in that we wanted to grow crops that no other farms in the area were growing. Our choice was heirloom tomatoes, herbs and vegetables.
Have you always been an ecofarmer, or did you make a change?
Yes. We have chosen to grow our products completely chemical-free, and that includes any organic chemicals that we could use.
What was the biggest hurdle you have overcome?
We are in our 60s so the biggest hurdle is maintaining the energy to do chemical-free farming. The first big hurdle was not listening to the people who said we couldn’t do this at our age, or because we had never farmed before.
What do you enjoy most about farming?
We enjoy taking land that was in need of being restored and working to make it productive. We enjoy watching what we have sown break through that restored soil and become a healthy plant that is good for people to eat. It is really satisfying to have customers tell us how great our microgreens, vegetables and tomatoes taste.
What is your biggest current challenge?
Since we are completely chemical=free, we sometimes deal with insect problems and of course weeds.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received about farming?
Prepare yourself and the life of the soil before you begin.
What learning opportunities have helped you become a better farmer?
As we began to plan our farm we went to several small farming conventions, and we attended lectures that covered the type of farming we planned to do. We also talked and listened to farmers already doing what we wanted to do, and of course we learned a lot from reading Acres U.S.A.
Farmers: Larry and Kat Clark
Farm size: 11 acres
Year established: 2012
Number of years farming? 3
Years reading Acres U.S.A.? 5
Products: Heirloom tomatoes, organic vegetables and micro-greens, herbs, blackberries, elderberries, goat’s milk soap, natural lotions and nightcrawlers
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-789-1224
What do you see in store for the future of sustainable farming?
By educating the next generation of small farmers there should be an increase in the number of farms moving toward eco-agriculture. We hope to play a part in our community by teaching young people the benefits and profitability of having a small, sustainable farm.
What is your favorite season? Why?
We find spring our favorite season because all of our hard work during the other months begins to come alive.
What do you enjoy most about living on the land?
We enjoy being able to go and walk the land knowing that it is ours. We believe that God gave it to us, and we are just being good stewards by improving it.
This article appears in the December 2015 issue of Acres U.S.A.