The Patio Farmer started in 2017 when I was working as the Farm Manager at an urban farm in east Charlotte. My friend Sam, who leads amazing work in Charlotte on aquaponics (growing food using fish, super cool, check him out), was opening an urban farming supply store in NoDa and asked if I would be interested in teaching classes. I said, sure! Why not?! He told me to brainstorm some topics that appealed to me.
First thing on my list was container gardening. Working on the farm, I had daily conversations with volunteers and farm visitors about how to keep their basil alive at home or how to grow food on their apartment balconies, etc. Sam was excited and said we could call it "patio farming"! That was that!
We taught 4 classes that spring and they all sold out. After one of the classes, Sam asked me if I had thought about taking these classes a step further. At the time, I was already working 3 jobs and the idea of taking on more was a little daunting. But I gave it some thought and sound-boarded ideas off my parents, boyfriend and close friends. All of whom were like, uhh yeah, you should totally do this!
And so I figured, ah what the heck. Let's see what happens! My big debut was the first annual, Homegrown Tomato Festival, a fundraiser for Sam's non-profit, 100 Gardens.
From there I recruited a few friends to let me trial services. That went well. Then I became a SkillPop instructor. That went well (and is still going well!). Then I took a pause for a season for life stuff (we moved and were elbows deep in home renovation and building our homestead, moving the goats in, demoing a kitchen, etc).
Then came back in full force with more classes, resident events, building a stronger client base, partnerships, managing through a pandemic, adding services, and presto! Here we are. Ok, so it really wasn't *that* easy, I'm just summarizing. There have definitely been challenges, hurdles to overcome, but overall it has been a beautiful journey getting to where I am today. I'm super proud. And I'm super thankful for all of you, who have helped me make The Patio Farmer what it is today. Y'all rock.
I have learned many things through the years but most importantly, it is to do what you're passionate about. Do what makes you smile from ear to ear, what you wake up excited to do over and over again. Also, patience. Lots of patience. Just as the garden grows, meandering through successful seasons of bounty, seasons that challenge us, seasons that help us grow in our practice, so a business grows and matures.
My goal with The Patio Farmer is to meet YOU where you are in your food growing journey and to help you in any way I can. I'm always trying new things, adding things into the fold. If you have any ideas or suggestions you'd like for me to explore or try, I'm all ears! We're growing together.