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347. Growers & Co. | JM Fortier | Quebec, Canada

JM Fortier ~ Grower’s & Co.

Jean-Martin Fortier2_Credit Growers & Co

Welcome to the Green Organic Garden. It is Wednesday, December 16, 2020, and I have the most amazing guest on the line, the world renowned gardener, he’s going to rock us with his new venture Growers & Co.here today to talk to us isJM Fortier, welcome to the show JM!

 

1m 21s

JM Fortier

Well, it’s so exciting. I feel like there’s fireworks coming out. Hi. I’m so happy to be there. Oh my goodness. Well, I am so happy to have you here and to talk about everything you have going on your new venture withGrowers & Co. your, I love the t-shirt that says small-scale farmers are changing the world. And I hope we’re going to talk about that a little bit today and just, but I do have a ton of new listeners since the last time you were here. So just in case they were like, who is this? I don’t know how they could, but if they are, do you, what, tell them a little bit about yourself.

 

2m 1s

JM Fortier

Sure. So, so people call me JM, so I go by JM and I started a small organic farm we’re in 2004. So that was a while back. And then that farm, the fame to claim of that farm was that we were farming an acre and a half, which we still do today. And we use no tractor. We use hand tools and then we go to farmer’s market and then we have CSA and we deliver it to the local food co-op and we’ve been able to make a living farming, this small piece of land for, you know, almost two decades now.

MarketGardener

The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

And eventually I wrote a book called the market gardener, which described the strategies that we use to make the farm, you know, productive and also financially viable.

 

2m 48s

JM Fortier

And the market gardener is now translated in 10 languages and it’s sold over 2000 and 200,000 copies. And a lot of people know me for this, you know, they’ve read the book and I think it has helped them just figure out proper ways to start a small farm or just like learn new gardening, gardening practices, or learn about tools, new tools that they perhaps didn’t know existed and how to use them. And so that was, that was kind of when people started to know a little bit of who I am, because I was promoting the book and people are reading my work.

 

3m 26s

JackieMarie Beyer

And so many of my guests who are market gardeners are following your steps. Exactly. And they’re talking about their success. I mean, I heard about you from Joyce Pinson back, I think in episode 45. And she was just raving about you back then. And I immediately bought the bucket. My husband has poured through it and just we’ve put some of the things like he’s desperately trying to build a pond and just, we just have a little mini farm. But 200,000 copies! I went to ghostwriter school this summer to learn how to write. I’m trying to write this book called Rockstar Millennial. And he said that like a self-published book usually sells 300 and a traditionally published book sells 2000. You are 100 times at 200,000 and that’s because you are changing the world and teaching people, how small farmers should he want to touch on that? How are small farmers changing the world? Small scale farmers.

 

4m 20s

JM Fortier

Yeah. Well, you know, that’s wow. I’ve met, you know, I’ve been very fortunate because, because of the book, you know, I didn’t, first of all, at first I was kind of touring. I was invited to talk about my work and talk about the books. So every time that happens, I go and visit farms and visit farmers. And that was in Canada. Then it was in the US, then it was in Europe. Then it was in Australia and New Zealand and then, you know, Central America. And it’s just like all over the place. And then every time I would see farms and farmers, you know, the local food system, it’s happening, people in that community are getting together at the farmer’s market. They’re talking about the local foods.

 

4m 60s

JM Fortier

 

It’s bringing people together.

And the people that are on these farms, they work super hard. It’s never easy. Some of them get this discouraged, but they keep that it. And it’s just, it’s so full of hope. And it’s so full of it’s. So counter-culture with regards to, you know, you know, big ag and big super stores and Amazon and everything is disconnected from everything.

 

But then when you go back to a local food farm, you’re like, okay, I’m buying salad from you and you’re growing them and we meet each other and it’s all positive.

Growers _ Co_SS20201_Credit Growers _ Co

It’s all ecological. And the money’s kept inside the community so positive. And so, you know, I knew that, but everywhere I go, it’s the same.

 

5m 44s

JM Fortier

 

It’s so positive. And then the more of these small farms are out there. The better the community is connecting with these farms. And then it just creates a strong local food scene. And everywhere I’ve been that I’ve seen a strong local food scene, it’s a happening place on many levels!

 

And so for me, when I look at environmental disasters and climate change and, and, and corporations, and just the takeover of so many of our common goods for me, the bright hope, you know, the Jedis of this struggle are the farmers that are doing the work!

 

6m 28s

JackieMarie Beyer

And, and absolutely, I mean, I, I think I sent you an email about this article I read in Rodale’s, we’re getting gardening magazine back in 2000 where they talks about the problem is not that we don’t have enough food today. It’s distributing that food. And that’s how small scales farmers can really, I think, make that change because it’s the distribution. And with small scale farmers, we don’t have to have this giant distribution. We don’t have to ship our tomatoes 20,000 miles and pick them before they’re ripe and before they have the proper nutritional value, we can, you know, get them from our local farmer.

 

7m 8s

JackieMarie Beyer

 

And it’s building that community and talking about hope like Mandy Gerth talked about hope, you know, she was like, it’s us crazy farmers, but it’s also the crazy customers who come and support us and building those communities. And she follows your practices. You know, she has the BCS tractor and they have the same bros and the same length. And like, those are some of the, you are talking about that, like some of the cause that’s one of the things that I think I’ve heard a lot of the people talk about. Like, you have like a, a standard link row, right. And like a size of a bed and specific walking polices, you walk in places you, you plant and don’t plant, am I right?

 

7m 50s

JM Fortier

Yeah. So when, when we, when we started our farm, we didn’t want to use a tractor. Not because we didn’t like tractors, although we don’t really, we’re not tractor people, but because we had, you know, under two acres to farm. And so what we tried to do was maximize, you know, square footage so that everything would be planted. And when you’re a mechanized farmer, a lot of the space is for, you know, turning at the end of the row and just attractors. They, they end up eating a lot of space in this spacings between each row is really wide because you’re cultivating tools are, you know, adapted for larger scale production.

 

8m 33s

JM Fortier

And when I started farming, a lot of the small-scale farmers were kind of using tractor scale techniques on small acreage. And it just, it wasn’t a good fit.

 

So what we did was maximize we started to, first of all, we adopted a permanent bed strategy. So like most home gardeners, you know, we have permanent beds and then we don’t plow chisel and remake them every year. We just we’ve made them once we’ve hilled them. And then we’re just cultivating on those beds, but the beds are 30 inch wide. And the pathways where we walk. So we don’t trample the beds. They’re 18 inch wide, which is a 48 inch center to center bed, four feet center to center bed.

 

9m 19s

JM Fortier

And that has become a standard that we use and a standard that all thousands of market gardeners are using now. And within the 30 inches, which is really the bed where we plant, we really use close spacings. So we’ll, we’ll go from 12 two to one 12 to down to one row for the different crops. You know, radishes is going to be 12 rows on 30 inch. Beans is going to be one row, but, and then you have cauliflowers, all the different crops have a different grid pattern, but it’s all on 30 inches. So that creates somewhat of a, how can I say, like a parameter to, from which to work with.

10m 4s

JM Fortier

And that’s really the difference.

We’ve created like a constraint, which is the bed with, and then we’ve worked inside that constraint. And we quickly figured out how to optimize production in that 30 inch bed.

 

 

the proper tools

And, and then the tools, the proper tools, the broad fork, the wheel hose, the cultivated POWs, the wire weeders, the seeders… All, all tools that are really, you know, hand push or handmade or made for humans. And in that bed that has become kind of our whole ecosystem to operate from which, and then listening to me talking like this, it sounds very esoteric, but it’s not. It’s just like, instead of doing whatever we have, you know, we have guidelines of, okay, so this is the bandwidth, this is the spacing for this crop.

 

This is the seeder for exactly the perfect density for that. This is the, we used to cultivate this crop and we’ve standardized a lot of things.

 

And, and when I published my book, you know, a lot of people adopted these standards. So now most, most market gardeners are working in: 

  • four feet center to center bed
  • they have black tarps,
  • they use BCS walk behind tractors,
  • they use wheel hoes,
  • they use push seeders 

You know, we haven’t invented anything. And there were people doing the same thing before us, for sure. But I think my, my book and my work has popularized it, if I can say that.

 

11m 36s

JackieMarie Beyer

But did you invent the wire weeder thing or like, didn’t you say there were two new tools that you designed that were coming out?

 

11m 46s

JM Fortier

Yeah. Like when you talked, when we started the podcast together, you talked aboutGrowers & Co. andGrowers & Co. is where now I, you know, we do, you know, I am the editor of a bi-yearly magazine where we talk about small-scale farming change in world, people that are doing it, why it’s important and just like gardeners and chefs, and just so many people involved. And we tell their stories, and it’s such a beautiful work! I’m inviting all your listeners to, to check it out. It’s, you know, the Growers Magazine, it’s at Growers & Co.and it’s, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. But it’s also a farm where, and tool company, where all the designs that I wanted to do are now available, because you were talking about the wire weeders, we’re talking about other tools.

12m 34s

JM Fortier

These are all tools that have been around. I’ve seen them in Europe, Eliot Coleman, who was really my mentor and somebody that I really like, you know, he gave me prototypes for those wire weeders that he messed with and that he found in Switzerland, like 30 years ago. And, and so I, I just, at one point with Growers, I now have a business that can, you know, make the tools and, and, you know, ideally make it profitable enough so that we can make more tools and just make new designs and better serve mostly home gardeners. Also with these tools that are professionally made, but that are, you know, you can’t find in hardware stores or they’re not available.

Broadfork_Credit Growers _ Co

13m 15s

JM Fortier

These are, you know, these are specifically tailored to our needs as market gardeners. And, and, you know, the broad fork is probably the most popular one that people know home gardeners know about the broadfork, but, you know, the one that we make is the one, and I’ve been using the brought forks for 20 years. And for me, there’s a difference between one and the other. They’re not all the same. They’re not all created equal. And so I’m kind of a geek that way. And so all the tools with Growers now are really the tools that, that I’ve designed and that I love.

 

13m 50s

JackieMarie Beyer

And it’s so true. Like I just happened to stumble upon a broad fork on Amazon once for $99. And I can’t even believe I hesitated and I have not, and I love our broad form, but it has fallen apart twice. We’ve had to like put it back together. And then I love that yours has wooden handles. And you were saying that makes it light. It makes a beautiful construct. Like, there’s definitely, I can’t wait til we get one because I want one down in our mini farm. And then I want one close to the house in our home gardens. Like we can definitely use too. And my husband turned she’s entire, the last two years in a row. He has turned the entire mini farm, which is like, I don’t know, a 10th of an acre and not quite equipped with the broad fork.

14m 33s

JackieMarie Beyer

Like we bought a rototiller and a tractor and he hasn’t used either one of them. He just uses that broad fork. And I just, I just think it’s invaluable. And I think the one you have built is, again, like you said, I love that as wouldn’t handles, it’s beautiful. And, but also like the space between the, the metal and everything about it. It’s hard to imagine someone can be so passionate about a broadfork, but it’s so true. Like it’s so handy. It does such a great job.

15m 2s

JM Fortier

Well, you know what, it’s the name of my farm is broad fork farm. It’s in French, Les Grelinette, which is the original inventor of the broad fork in France. But, you know, it’s the broad fork for me symbolizes a lot of things. You know, it, it, it’s definitely about taking care of the soil because unlike a rotor tiller, which you’d be kind of, you know, plowing and kind of like messing all the, you know, all, all the ecosystem that’s in the soil and it’s all layered and there’s there fun guy, and there’s all these different microbiome that we don’t know about. We can’t see, but they’re there, it’s an ecosystem. And then when you, when you go with a rotor tiller, you, you’re kind of just like destroying the whole soil structure.

 

15m 43s

JM Fortier

You’re just kind of messing it up all the, all the life that’s in the soil, it gets kind of like, it’s like an earthquake. It’s like an earthquake, a tornado and a fire at the same time. It’s like complete destruction of the universe. And so that’s what, that’s what, you know, really that’s what a rotor tiller does. It looks great. You know, you have the soil that’s really nice and really brown, and we’re accustomed to kind of feeling that that’s the soil that we want, but it’s, it’s really when you, when you look at it and when you study soil systems and, and you study the effect of, of different tools on soils, we know it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s confirmed a hundred percent that no till systems are, are better for the soil and in the long-term more productive because it goes, when you wrote her till it’s like, it’s like blowing on a fire, you get a hard flame.

 

16m 33s

JM Fortier

You know, a lot of, a lot of the mineralization happens. It’s the soil becomes active, but you’re depleting the, the humans that’s in the soil, you’re kind of depleting the organic matter, slow. You’re kind of burning it up. So all of this, to say that the broad fork, it allows you to make sure that your soil is loose and deep without destroying it without inverting the layers. And so that’s why this tool for me, it’s not just any other tool. It’s a very, it’s very symbolic of how we want to be cultivating the soils and how we want to be producing food and, you know, grown with care and by people who care doing the extra effort to make it really, you know, really profound.

 

17m 18s

JM Fortier

And so the broad fork for me is that, and so to have, but then, you know, we’re also commercial, you know, we need to get things done on the farm. We have an eight to five and we have, you know, 300 people that we’re feeding and we have kids and it’s just like, you know, we want things to, to happen. So a broad fork for me, needs to be, you know, the right way, not too heavy, not too light. It needs to be, it needs to not break. So I can use it for many, many years and this kind of same ethos that I have for the fork I have for, you know, the oscillating hose, that way I use the cultivating, the wiggle wire hose I have for the wire weeder I have for all the hose that I use.

 

18m 2s

JM Fortier

It’s the same, you know, these, these are tools that I want to have for many, many years. And so, you know, I’m at the service of trying to make them better, better than, than you know, those that I can found on the market.

 

18m 15s

JackieMarie Beyer

Okay. Awesome.

Tell us about the clothes and the farm wear. 

Growers _ Co_SS20206_Credit Growers _ Co

18m 24s

JM Fortier

That’s another Epic adventure. I don’t know. I’ve, I’m so passionate about it to be Frank. Like I, I traveled a lot and for me, you know, I spend 40, 45 hours a week outside cold weather this morning. It’s a zero Fahrenheit here at the farm. And so, you know, we’re, we’re outside in the greenhouse, we’re removing row covers, we’re doing staff. And so the, the clothes that I wear become a bit of my tools also, it’s like my, my working clothes. And I’ve been thinking about better clothing, you know, pants with knee pads, because we’re a lot on our knees, a tool belt so that we can carry more tools with us, you know, just like big coats that are more durable and that breed and, and, you know, obviously a lot of the Growers in, in my ecosystem, my community, we, we just, we buy stuff from the Salvation Army.

19m 26s

JM Fortier

We just kind of rip it out. But you know, there’s some, some times we like something and you like a piece of clothing. We want to keep it. And, and so with Growers, what we’re doing is we are, we are designing and manufacturing clothing that are really tough, durable, but they’re also designed for playing outside, being a gardener or a market gardener. And the special touch that I want to give it is that it also looks good because, you know, I think, I think farmers are cool and they should look cool and they should feel cool and they are cool. And so the clothing also needs to give you a little bit of style.

 

And so that’s my project, you know, to be behind a farm wear company that does amazing, you know, tools and amazing clothes that you want to wear to play outside.

 

20m 18s

JackieMarie Beyer

And then can you tell me something about, you want to see the people on the billboards farmers and not just right. Like the people, not just recreational lists or something like that. Like you think farmer’s….

 

Stirrup Hoes 2_Credit Growers _ Co

Farmers are changing the world

20m 35s

JM Fortier

Yeah. Farmers are changing the world and yeah, this story that I was telling you was because everything’s a long story. So I, you know, I try to make them short, but this idea of, of, of a farm wireline is it also a comes from the vision of having mult of having more farms everywhere in each state, in each town, feeding more cities. You know, we want to see the multiplication of small ecological farms. And ultimately I believe that’s how, that’s the only way we, the only means to replace kind of the mass production. That’s really malnourishing us.

 

21m 16s

JM Fortier

Okay. So we need to have more, more vibrant ecological farms. People are in the countryside, it’s creating a local economy. People are eating locally. It’s good on the ecology that this feedback is so positive, but how do we get there? So for me, when I look at what the last 40 years, there’s some trends that really happened. And one of them is because I grew up, you know, I didn’t grow up on a farm. I used to skateboard and snowboard, and that was my universe. But I remember how it was cool back then to be a skateboarder. And later on, I, I started to rock climb and I was, you know, reading Locke, rock climbing magazines, and then Patagonia had these billboards of rock climbers.

 

21m 59s

JM Fortier

And it was just like, you know, rock climbers were superstars and you’d be cool if you do that.

 

And I’ve always been thinking, how about we have farmers instead? You know, these people are feeding the community. They’re working hard, they’re playing outside. They’re, they’re living a courageous and inspirational life.

 

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And so I went to Patagonia twice to pitch them the idea of saying, why don’t you guys focus on, on farmers and, and create a line for them functional where that will help them in their work, just like you did for rock climbers and starting start to tell their stories and start to praise what they’re doing and make them then the hero.

 

22m 40s

JM Fortier

And, you know, I had a certain traction, but eventually it didn’t pan out. So I just decided to kind of go for it myself. And, I surrounded myself with great people here and we’ve started Growers & Co.and, and that’s really what we want to do.

 

So, so that’s the story about rock climbers and farmers and how they gel. It’s the whole concept of portraying farmers as heroes because I do think that they are!

 

23m 10s

JackieMarie Beyer

Absolutely, I mean, we all need to eat. I mean, we’re facing this huge health crisis with people not getting nutrients out of the food. Like, it’s just, it’s like this crazy thing where we have all these obese people, you know, but it’s because we’re eating nutritionally, valueless food is so much easier to have access to because, you know, big ag is getting, I think, you know, what is it subsidies from things so they can make food cheaper. So it’s, you know, a parent, who’s struggling to feed five kids, it’s easier for them to buy a box of super cheap, you know, low nutrition cereal as compared to, I mean…

 

I, you know, I can remember picking my stepdaughter granddaughter up after school and she bought a thing of blueberries and she thought a whole $5 container of blueberries before we got home. If you have five kids, you know, how are you going to do that? And just, it it’s so true, like we really need to level the access to nutrient dense food.

 

24m 25s

JM Fortier

And, and, and Jackie, if I can, if I, if I may, we need more people gardening.

 

And that’s where people like you come into play because we need to talk about gardening, we need to get excited about it!

Blueberries

And we need to be passionate about the important skill of gardening, those blueberries, that $5, $5 a pint they’re cheap when you’re picking them yourself. Cause blueberries, they’ll just grow! And

 

24m 53s

JackieMarie Beyer

Because I am so struggling to grow blueberries!

24m 58s

JM Fortier

I have tricks for that, but you know,

25m 1s

JackieMarie Beyer

Like one problem we have, we finally got a soil test and my pH where my blueberries are is an 8.3.

25m 8s

JM Fortier

Yeah. Well, that’s perhaps on the, it should be a bit lower, but you know, they need to be acidic. So, so that’s, that’s important, but that’s, and sometimes it’s the cultivars, you know, but blueberries, you know, we don’t grow them super commercially. You know, we don’t, we don’t feed 300 families with blueberries. We have just some for our families, but except for picking them, I found, which takes a lot of time. You know they’re not that hard, but you know, anything that you can grow in, in your home and your, your garden, you know, if we, if gardeners, if gardener is what measure, you know, the money that they make, you know, like we do, when we’re American gardeners, they’d be astound or amazed how much produce they’re getting out of their gardens.

26m 1s

JM Fortier

And that would be, you know, harvest for $50, you’re like, wow, this is amazing. And then, but they don’t, people don’t do that. They don’t count how much this is worth, but if they did, I think it would be a great incentive to, you know, garden more heavily, because, you know, you’re producing money. You don’t need to buy stuff. It’s, you know, for me, it’s, I get over passionate about this, but I, I think gardeners are also playing in this good food revolution they’re playing a super important part.

JackieMarie Beyer

Oh my gosh, it’s so true. Like, my husband was so passionate about planning our apple orchard, and like, I can’t believe how many apples we get year after year after year. And like the raspberries, like from our raspberry bushes that like you put in, and then once, you know, once they take off, just how much they’re growing, which is what I’m hoping with my blueberries, I mean, seriously, I have two plants and I got five blueberries this year. Like, I am really struggling with that, but I, you know, maybe I’ll figure it out. Like, I’m trying to decide, like, should I take them out of the dirt and find some other dirt, the people who did the soil test, she sent me like, this Espoma, that is it to put number?

27m 16s

JackieMarie Beyer

But I’m like, should I just start over in different pots in a different bed? Like, what should I do with these two plants I have that are just not doing anything for me. This is their second year five blueberries.

27m 29s

JM Fortier

Yeah. I think second year you need to wait for fourth year. That’s really, really good.

27m 33s

JackieMarie Beyer

The second person that told me that I’m just being impatient. Yeah.

27m 36s

JM Fortier

Yeah. Well, not impatient. Just perhaps not aware that blueberries, they take a long time to establish their they’re growing their roots. And it’s when their root system gets well-established. Then, then the plant, you know, sets to set the fruit. But before that, it’s not ready yet. So don’t worry too much.

27m 54s

JackieMarie Beyer

First year, I thought it was, cause I just didn’t water him. Cause watering is like my major struggle. But then last year I really made sure they got water and Oh, maybe they just cause they are, they’re still, they’re very short. They haven’t really grown.

28m 9s

JM Fortier

Give them time and keep, keep loving them. That’s it

28m 12s

JackieMarie Beyer

Hail? Yeah. Azalea thing. I think she said I should get this Espoma Azalea.

28m 21s

JackieMarie Beyer

My husband, my husband is like, you want to put what in there? Yeah. I was just like

 

28m 26s

JM Fortier

The natural, you know, it really depends on it’s. It’s always hard to give recommendations, you know, over a phone conversation because I don’t see the plants and I, but sometimes, you know, it’s just a matter of letting things settle sometimes. And in the case of perennials, I think most of the times that’s what needs to happen. And so if your pH is on the acidic side, you know, and you have some wood chips or sawdust around your plants, and I think it’s just a matter of years before they start to pump out.

Tomato Blossom End Rot Challenges

29m 4s

JackieMarie Beyer

Awesome. So the other challenge I had this year was the blossom end rot on my tomatoes.

 

JM Fortier

Yes. There. Yes. Yes.

 

Blossom end rot, blossom end rot and such a, you know, you have those that we, we mostly have it on peppers. We have it also on certain, sometimes on tomatoes, but beautiful peppers like, Oh, gorgeous, big and fat. And then you have the bottom, that’s all rotten and you can’t sell anymore. So, you know, blossom end rot has to do with calcium.

 

And that happens when it gets really warm or really hot. And then the plant doesn’t get enough calcium from the soil because mostly it’s, it’s, it’s not hydrating itself in us. You know, the demand, the plant is, is wants more calcium, but it’s not getting enough water because the water is not compensated because it’s transport transpiring a lot too. So, you know, it’s a complicated thing to say that the way we work around that is that we foliar spray in August preventively with calcium on those plants. So, you know, tomatoes or peppers and the foliar spray of calcium just makes sure that there’s not going to be a deficient, a deficiency because if you put it in the ground, then you’re left with the same problem, because the problem is not that there’s no calcium in the ground.

 

30m 36s

JM Fortier

The problem is just the plant because it’s warm. And because it’s so hot, it’s having a hard time accessing the calcium and channeling it to the fruits. And so that’s how we deal with it. In August, we, every week we systematically spray foliar, spray calcium on the plants and we use the dosage that are on the calcium that we buy. And we use a pretty typical backpack sprayer. And that’s it.

 

31m 6s

JackieMarie Beyer

Is it like seaweed or something?

 

JM Fortier

Yeah, well, you know, when we do calcium foliar sprayers, when we do that,

you know, when we’re spraying, we add also seaweeds because the seaweeds, they add a lot of trace minerals. There’s a lot of trace minerals and see me. That’s why, you know, it’s people in Japan are very Nasia. They eat a lot of seaweeds because it’s really rich with a lot of things that we, we might not have in our regular dialect. So, and then we spray that because the two can work together. They don’t, the calcium doesn’t, does it have a negative impact or effect on, on the what’s good in the seaweed? So we spray both at once and there’s a lot of things that when we do spray on plants, you know, we try to maximize our time.

31m 57s

JM Fortier

So we do in the same spray there, there’s going to be some times, sometimes we spray with, with soap for aphids and then we’ll also put something else. So, you know, this is something that we, that we’ve kind of debugged and experimented with and we know what to spray just by themselves and what to spray together.

 

Growers _ Co_SS20203_Credit Growers _ Co

Market Gardener Online Course

And, and I try to, you know, I try to share all this knowledge that, that me and my staff, and then over the years, they all the, all the knowledge that I’ve kind of developed, you know, I have a, an online course, it’s the masterclass and in the masterclass, you know, I give this information out, but it’s, it’s also a video of how we do things, why every step of the way.

 

32m 44s

JM Fortier

And then what we, what I want to do is to just help people in a very clear and concise manner, like, okay, this is how, you know, I do carrots from seed to harvest all the steps.

 

You know, how I deal with insects. This is how, this is how this is how, and it’s, it would be like a YouTube channel, but it’s a, it’s a deeper to program, you know? And then we have some of my, you know, former farm staff that have been with me that are answering these people’s question. And they’re just like, we have a peer to peer group where people, you know, share their problems and then other people gives insights.

 

33m 24s

JM Fortier

So what I’ve tried to do is just create a knowledge, a knowledge-based place where professional market gardeners or avid home gardeners can get, you know, information that they can’t find online. So that’s another, that’s another project that I have. I have a, quite a few, but I’m just, I’m so passionate about this, that I have too much energy. It needs to go somewhere.

 

33m 50s

JackieMarie Beyer

Oh my gosh. But you are totally changing the world doing this. Didn’t you tell me 2000 people have gone through that course. And it’s just invaluable. I mean, it’s, I know people who have taken that course, we talked about Ray Tyler. He just raved about how much he learned from you. Like yeah, you have that class and, and, you know, I can’t stress enough, but I think also you have also donated a lot of free content out there, that has helped people. But if somebody’s serious, I mean, it’s an investment.

34m 30s

JackieMarie Beyer

That’s like, you know, you just, you know, if you’re really serious about becoming a market farmer, I think it could really help people like people have given you feedback that it’s really helped them. People have talked on my show about how it’s helped them.

34m 45s

JM Fortier

Yeah. This is, this is always, you know, when you’re an entrepreneur, you do things. And when you look back or when other people look at your, some of your success or like, Oh, this guy, you know, he’s just everything’s happening. But you know, I’ve had a lot of doubt. There’s a lot of money that went into that. And a lot of my time and I have two kids and a wife and I have, you know, I’m running a farm program and I have my own farm. And I I’m, you know, I’m helping, you know, in doing policy work here on, on the state level. And there’s so many things that I do. But whenever I hear you talked about Ray, you know, you’ve had Ray on your show and you know, the story of Ray, Ray, Tyler, and what, where he was.

35m 29s

JM Fortier

And, and when I met him where he was with regards to his farm and his farming, he has like, I think six children and, you know, the farm was not, it was not happening at all. And it was, it was a struggle. And, and where he is now, he’s a highly successful farmer. He also teaches. Now, he also has an online course and, and, and I’m not, I’m not taking credit for the success of his work. That’s not the point here is like the, this evolution is what I care deeply about of people making it work on their farm for me, that’s, that’s, that’s awesome because I know that it can be a very positive experience.

36m 9s

JM Fortier

And I know that people want to eat local foods. It’s just a matter of how you approach your farming.

 

And if you can become a better farmer, and if you become a better farmer, you become a better husband, or you become a better mother and you become a better neighbor and you become a better, you know, Christian, because farming can be a very struggling kind of work.

 

You know, you can really work very hard and not have a lot of success, but if that changes and then the, the level of energy and effort that you put into it translates into success and, and crop success and market success. And then it leads to a good life.

 

36m 50s

JM Fortier

And that’s, that’s what I care about. So anyway. Yep.

36m 57s

JackieMarie Beyer

Oh, I love all of that. It’s so true. You know, and like, in a lot of ways, like, I’ve, you know, done the same thing with my podcasts. Like I’ve paid at least that much for classes, like probably twice that learning how to be a successful podcaster, which has like, my husband is probably just like, Oh my goodness. And just, you know, I think there’s a certain learning curve. And I think, you know, I don’t know. I should probably, but anyway, my financial problems are more, probably rooted in my lack of business sense, but also it takes time.

 

Like sometimes, I’m like six years, when I graduated elementary, you don’t want to just go into school to be an elementary teacher. I remember being with a teacher in the classroom, she’s like, well, it takes five years to become the teacher. I’m like, wait, five more years after I’ve just been in school for four years. Why does it take that long show? Thinking that you’re going to start an online business and be profitable in less than five years? You know, I think is idealistic and I’ve almost worked full time the whole time I’ve been doing this. So, yeah,

38m 3s

JM Fortier

You’ve told me, you’ve told me that you’re also writing a book, which is another big endeavor. It takes a lot of, a lot of time. It’s not easy. There’s this little feeling and you’re putting a lot of time writing it. And you’re just hopeful that it’s going to be, people will want to read it. Then that’s a, it takes courage to do that also.

 

38m 24s

JackieMarie Beyer

Well, thank you. Yeah, it does. Well, we wrote our first book, the Organic Oasis Guide Book last year, which I think I have sold all of four copies of I’m not joking. And just, but I think, like I heard a podcast talk about having to go on your own book tour, and you were talking about how you traveled in, so that could be it. I don’t know. Anyway. Yeah.

 

38m 46s

JM Fortier

Jackie, the book, the book tour lasted five years.

 

38m 50s

JackieMarie Beyer

Oh, wow. Yeah. So!

 

38m 53s

JM Fortier

It was quite a book tour. And at the end, I can tell you, I was so fed up with it that I didn’t want to do any, any more talk on radio podcasts, nothing for three years. I was, you know, from 2000 and 2018 to kind of this year with me coming up with Growers and the magazine and wanted to tell the world about it, I’ve been quieter because I was just kind of like, tell your story 5 million times. You’re just kind of fed up with it. But writing a book is also about telling stories and then you need to do it and it’s work.

39m 29s

JackieMarie Beyer

Yeah. Well, cool. Well, is there anything else you want to share today that we didn’t touch on, but I know you’re busy. Yeah.

39m 38s

JM Fortier

I’m going to go back. Actually, we were finishing our crop plan for next year, but with this, with the crew here, but I hope everyone’s safe. I hope everybody’s excited about next year’s garden. And I’m inviting everyone to check out Growers Magazine, Growers & Co.and, you know, write me an email. Give me feedback about it, how you see this. And yeah, that’s an invitation to everyone!

40m 5s

JackieMarie Beyer

And buy a broadfork! Get one of his broadforks or check out his tools and take the masterclass. If you want to be a, a market farmer and just make sure you leave him a review on Amazon and, and just start do all the things. Definitely check out his website. There’s so much tons of information there. Get some of his farm wear, and thank you so much for being such a gracious guest today.

 

40m 31s

JM Fortier

Well, thank you, Jackie, for having me on and all the best on the podcast and send me a copy of your book.

 

40m 37s

JackieMarie Beyer

Well, thank you.

 

Have a great day. Stay safe. Happy holidays.

Growers & Co.

About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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