Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I'm full of crazy ideas. Anyone in my family will vouch for that.


Here's my latest. Locally hand-crafted hot sauce. Okay - maybe it's not 100% original, but definately crazy.


Honestly, I'm struggling with the attack on local agriculture and what appears to be a war on community health from a food and water perspective. Common sense is so far lost in the conversations surrounding healthful food, clean water, and routine physical activity that I truly believe that Hot Sauce holds the key - at least for me. Here's what I mean.


It's fairly well documented that farmers who wish to provide high-quality food to a local or regional market will face a very difficult path to success and financial freedom. It's not a business model that works when you have to consider healthcare, cost of living, raising children, property taxes, school taxes, equipment and supply costs, fuel, etc... Factory farms currently rule the marketplace with illegal wage strategies and mass produced crops that lack the nutritional richness of their heirloom cousins.


So, starting now, I hope to use my family as a case-study in an effort to discover some possible way that small-scale local agriculture can work from a financial perspective. In order to extract lessons learned along the way I hope to have the discipline to use my Homegrown.org blog to document my progress, successes, and failures. I guess I'm also looking for some help in the form of advice, support, and homegrown love.


Primary Objectives:

1. Create a small catalog of hand-crafted food products to be distributed throughout the 607 area code.

2. Create, implement, and refine a successful business plan that can be replicated by other specialty food start-ups.

3. Foster the health and wellness of my family through homegrown food choices and agriculturally-based physical activity.


A couple of important notes:

I have a pretty good gig with decent medical benefits that I won't be offering up as a sacrificial lamb in my quest. However, I plan on tracking my investment (both time and money) carefully with the hope that within 24 months there might be a possibility of financial sustainability. Again, I like my job. The keys here are slow-money investment, minimum risk, maximum benefits.


I'm not a farmer (yet). My mom is a retired florist, my wife is a dietician, my buddy is grown-up farm kid, and I'm a physical educator. Not a terrible recipe. We've had 1 successful harvest worth of great hot peppers, 2 batches of delicious hot sauce, and 2 decent harvests of other good stuff that we've consumed. I love the flavor of hard work and a sense of victory.


So, help me out. Follow my blog. Post ideas, support, advice, and general words of wisdom.


Let the journey begin.

Views: 114

Comment by Caroline Malcolm on January 13, 2012 at 11:01am

Hey Aaron! This is a great post -- and is very true on so many levels with regards to the realities of producing value-added products for a local market. It sounds like you're taking a pragmatic approach to your growing and production endeavors and I'm excited to see the fruits (er, hot sauces...) of your labor! 

Please do continue to share your blog with us on HOMEGROWN. You've hit the core of what we're about -- getting back to the roots of our food system, honing a skill, and doing, making and crafting something to share with the community. We'd love to see photos, videos and recipes!

Good luck!

Comment by Aaron Hart on January 13, 2012 at 1:55pm

Thanks Caroline! More to come!

Comment by Yvonne on January 13, 2012 at 2:04pm

Good luck with the new venture Aaron : )


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