Ron Arnold’s Story
We began market gardening in 2009. We have always been attracted to a more sustainable lifestyle. We lived off the grid for 11 years in Kentucky and farmed with horses. WE had raised our food organically for the flavor and health benefits. The more knowledge we gained about what was happening with commercially grown food, the more serious we became.In 2009 we launched our first effort for direct market farming.
We wanted to do what we loved to do for a living and provide a working farm experience for our 2 youngest kids who were 12 and 14.
We started with farmers markets and advertised our food as chemical free, no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbacides. It took a while, but people started returning to us specifically for our corn, melons, lettuce and other varieties of produce that we were carrying. It has been a learning curve, but I think we are finally catching on to how markets work and what people like. We love to educate people about different vegetables and provide recipes, nutritional information, and food preservation tips. We enjoy meeting the folks at the markets and sharing and learning from the other farmers.
We desperately need our own water source. Right now we are on county water. We have to irrigate our market crops and what we paid for watering for the season ($2,000) would have almost paid for the cost of a well in this area ($2500). We would very much appreciate a grant to cover the cost of a new well and be able to irrigate with much cleaner water and avoid the high cost of county water.
Our farm, Herb and Plow, has an educational and compassionate emphasis. We hold gardening classes and encourage people to raise food irregardless of the size of their garden spot. We encourage people to use non GMO or treated seeds, compost, cover crops, crop rotational methods, and how to extend their season with high and low tunnels. We also provide lists of the best gardening books ( any of Elliot Coleman\’s), tools, and other resources. Our farm is also open for open house tours, home school groups and we hope to have local schools visit us for field trips, too. We also write articles about what we are doing in magazines such as Grit, Rural Heritage, BackHome and soon to be published in Mother Earth Magazine. We are sensitive to those who want naturally grown food ( Our farm is now certified naturally grown) but feel they can\’t afford it. We use a sliding scale(People are not always aware of it) so that anyone may enjoy the benefits of naturally grown produce. We live in a poor county and we would love to improve the health of our community by spreading the word about raising safe and healthy food.