|At the Greenwich Home Show courtesy of the Greenwich Time newspaper|
Last month, I also went off to Norwich, CT and earned my Accreditation in the Organic Land Care Profession - earning me the acronym AOLCP following my name. The course is taught by NOFA, the Northeast Farmers Association whose mission it is to protect and encourage a healthy relationship between humans and the land.
"CT NOFA is a growing community of farmers, gardeners, land care professionals, and consumers that encourages a healthy relationship to the natural world. CT NOFA:
- Promotes methods of farming, gardening, and land care that respect biodiversity, soil, water, air, and the needs of future generations through education, support, and advocacy.
- Encourages the growth of a sustainable, regional food system that is ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just.
- Educates consumers about their power to effect positive changes through their food and land care choices.
- Increases the local and organic food supply and maintains productive agricultural land by creating opportunities for new and veteran farmers.
CT NOFA is working toward:
- The growth of organic food production in Connecticut, resulting in local, sustainable agricultural systems.
- A clean, safe, healthy environment to pass on to future generations.
- Preservation of existing farmland in the state.
- An abundant supply of organically grown food for Connecticut citizens."
Since coming back from my class, I was teased that I drank too much of the Kool-aid as I was heard going on and on about Connecticut is a forest and wants to be a forest; how we should leave the leaves in our garden beds as they give good nutrients to the soil and my other new mantra lawns are evil - grow food, not lawns! Prompting Mark to cue up the Grateful Dead channel on the XM radio.
February also was the month we got our online store up and running on our website which we are very excited about since many gardeners may simply be looking for some tools or gardening accessories and prefer to do their shopping online and now we can accommodate that. If you haven't had a chance to check out online store simply click on the "Shop" tab on our website www.homegrownharvest.com or follow this link to our Shop Homegrown Harvest.
|Seedling under the grow lights|
As busy as February was, March is going to busier for us as we are excited about this. The last two weeks I have started a number of seed starts in what used to be our dining room. It's a south-facing room with big windows and now three tables with grow lights and a small heater. I am always amazed at the miracle of creation - to watch a seed that I planted spring forth to this little green sprout at first then develop into a plant - its just amazing! I'm always in a little disbelieve when it works. Currently, we have some varieties of lettuce, peppers and basil started, as well as some other herbs.
|The toothpick is my tool of choice when starting seeds.|
This month, we already have on the calendar some estimate visitations set up with potential customers. We will continue to work hard to get the word out to the community about what we do and how we can help them grow their own food. As I said in the beginning - its an exciting time but a nerve-wracking time as well. We believe in our business and want to help people discover that gardening doesn't have to be complicated, back-breaking or overly time consuming. We want to help people discover you don't need a ton of space to grow your own food - there are simple and efficient ways to garden, like square foot gardening which uses about 20% of the space than a traditional row garden uses. We also know that even the best business ideas can fail if not executed properly. That's why we are talking to as many people who have started their own businesses and learning from them; networking with people who are currently in the business and learning from them and continuing our own education in the industry so that we can continue to share our expanding knowledge with our customers. It's an ever changing world and you have learn to grow and adapt with it.
|The basil varieties are the first to appear!|
Today, food prices continue to escalate and the amount of energy used to get certain foods from the ground to your table is exorbitant. Some foods travel 2500 miles! The amount of nutrients lost in transit are enormous. We can't be certain of what it was grown in, what was sprayed on it and what exactly that is went through before landing up in the produce aisle. Technology coupled with Americans desires for a fast and convenient lifestyle has removed people from nature. Children are attached to cell phones, computers and video games instead of the climbing trees, playing in the woods and digging in the dirt.
When gardening you need to think about right plant, right place, right time; the same thing can be said about business as well - right business, right place, right time. Mark and I believe that Homegrown Harvest is a good business idea in the right place at the right time. We look forward to sharing our expertise and knowledge in helping people get back to nature a little and grow their own homegrown harvests.