Hello and welcome! My name is Max, and I set up this blog to document the development of my farm in Ojai, CA. Although organic gardening and homesteading runs in my family, I do not come from a family of farmers, at least not in recent generations. My dream to farm has roots in childhood gardening and chicken-raising, love of nature, love of good food, fascination with production, desire to be self-employed, and an overall awareness of the importance of the farmer's vocation.
My single biggest mentor (although I have yet to meet him in person) has been farmer/author Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, who wrote in his book You Can Farm, "The prerequisite to a successful farming operation is to believe that it is possible." This is simple wisdom. Deep down inside, I have always been a dreamer and although the number of dreams far surpasses the plans that actualize in their wake, I owe it my dreaming heart that I even have a chance at farming at all.
When I first read this, my soul lit up with hope. I had certainly encountered society's skepticism that farming was a career anyone would freely choose to enter into. When voicing my dream to farm, I was rarely met with encouragement. I was more often warned that it was hard work, low pay, and land is too expensive if it's not already in your family.
Fair enough. I knew it would be hard work. The fact that people thought hard work would deter me from farming, or acted as if I thought it would be easy, I actually found somewhat insulting. I love working working hard. It makes my life meaningful. There are few things more satisfying than going to bed knowing that you worked your hardest that day.
I took this advice to heart. I grew a garden on my dorm room balcony in college, and planted clandestine veggie gardens around the campus. I spent my spare time reading books about farming. When home on breaks, I volunteered at a local organic farm, and made it my goal to work the hardest on the crew, despite getting paid nothing except free veggies and a salad-bar lunch at the end of the end of the day. Ultimately, through the relationship I cultivated with the farmer during those volunteer days, I was able to launch my first farm business "Ojai Valley Online Farmstand" one year ago, which started by selling this farmer's cosmetically blemished produce at discount to friends and community members. He couldn't sell them, and I wanted to get my foot in the door of farming. It would never have developed if it was not for taking Salatin's advice "Do something NOW!"
So, I commence this blog on the eve of the birth of my farm. I don't know whether my primary aim is simply to document the journey for myself, or to share it with others, but at any rate, the blog will do both. I invite you to join me on my journey to a successful family farm, with stories and pictures, recipes and anecdotes along the way!