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Farming Has a New Narrative

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Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia PA

Egged on by the ever-expanding ecosystem of farm advocacy groups, farmers seem compelled to explain how exceptional they are. Here is a recent example titled “Here’s What I Need You to Know About Farming.” As we’ve come to expect, it includes the oft-repeated narrative about how hard farmers work.

SF photo hard

Many people work hard. Think of your local dry cleaner. Hair dresser. Roofer. Plumber. Print shop owner. Their days are long, their stresses are rigorous. That is the reality of self-employment, but they don’t try to use that to promote their businesses.And what are customers supposed to do with that information? Should they feel respect? Sympathy? Guilt? If you want commiseration, there are support groups and services, including the SPIN online forum and Open Houses, where you’ll find plenty of understanding and even more problem solving.

Recent topics have included:

  • why yardowners want SPIN farmers to use their land
  • selling social capital along with your veggies
  • whether to go all-in or start part-time
  • why you have to sometimes say no to restaurants
  • how to grow more on less land
  • how to raise $2,100 through crowdfunding
  • binding customers to you via email marketing
  • growing lettuce throughout 100° summers

The new narratives that are emerging in the SPIN group aren’t about how hard farming is, or how exceptional farmers are. They’re  that you can build a business based on how exceptional your products are. They’re about what customers want, and the best way to
deliver it. And they’re about making farming easier in the process.

SPIN photo Wally straddling spinach beds

Have you heard? Farming doesn’t have to be as hard as it used to be.