100 episodes

If you’re looking to build a profitable farm that works, The Thriving Farmer Podcast is for you. Learn the latest tricks and strategies from successful farmers, strategize with in-depth interviews with leaders in the industry, and connect with stories of farmers just like you. With over 15 years of farming background, your host Michael Kilpatrick has the experience and authority to bring you practical advice, ask the hard questions, tease out the gold nuggets, and help share what it’s really like to build a truly profitable, sustainable farm. In the interviews, we focus on building farms that last, setting up your systems, knowing your customers, building your team, and treading that ever-challenging work/family/life balance.

The Thriving Farmer Podcast Michael Kilpatrick

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 248 Ratings

If you’re looking to build a profitable farm that works, The Thriving Farmer Podcast is for you. Learn the latest tricks and strategies from successful farmers, strategize with in-depth interviews with leaders in the industry, and connect with stories of farmers just like you. With over 15 years of farming background, your host Michael Kilpatrick has the experience and authority to bring you practical advice, ask the hard questions, tease out the gold nuggets, and help share what it’s really like to build a truly profitable, sustainable farm. In the interviews, we focus on building farms that last, setting up your systems, knowing your customers, building your team, and treading that ever-challenging work/family/life balance.

    Chris Sermons on Being a Real Organic Certified Farm

    Chris Sermons on Being a Real Organic Certified Farm

    Have you considered applying for organic certification?
    On today’s episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, we’re hosting Chris Sermons, Founder of Bio-Way Farm, located in Ware Shoals, South Carolina. Bio-Way Farm is a Certified Organic farm with a focus on sustainable agriculture and permaculture design principles.
    Their 120 acres offers a mix of cultivated fields with row crops, hardwood forests and an edible forest garden featuring many native plants. They are located 30 miles south of Greenville, SC and serve the greater Greenville area. Chris is the winner of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's 2016 Farmer of the Year award. 
    Tune in to this info-packed episode all about how Chris and his team run a thriving Organic farming venture!
     
    You’ll hear:
    How Chris got started in farming 1:54 What the first years on Bio-Way Farm property were like 3:35 What the cropping and permaculture currently looks like on the farm 8:02 Why Chris decided to make the farm Certified Organic 16:07 What goes into the Real Organic certification 20:24 How Chris runs an Airbnb on the farm 31:53 What Hipcamp is 34:39 What the future holds for Bio-Way Farm 37:58 Chris’s advice for beginning farmers 48:01 Chris’s favorite farming tools 49:07  
    About the Guest:

    Chris Sermons is a naturalist and biological farmer. In 2004, he started Bio-Way Farm in Upstate South Carolina where they grow organic produce and foster biodiversity. He’s held leadership roles with the Sierra Club, Wild South and Slow Food. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association recognized Chris as the Farmer of the Year in 2016. His approach to managing the farm is guided by a land ethic and his background in permaculture.
    Resources:
    Website: https://www.biowayfarm.com/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/biowayfarm 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/biowayfarm/ 
     
    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
    At AgriGro, we know that, in today’s modern agriculture, our efforts can deplete life or add life.
    When you look for ways to add life, it is sustainable and makes everything work better. As a result, you will experience enhanced plant and soil health for crops, gardens, and turf, as well as improved animal health and environment for livestock and wildlife.
    Our products are all-natural, easy to use, and friendly to the soil and the plant, as well as the grower. AgriGro’s® formulations deliver essential plant nutrition along with an advanced prebiotic concentrate, which significantly increases the multitude of beneficial native microbial species already residing in the production environment.
    Through these environmentally sound technologies, we’re adding life to crop production, livestock, home, turf, and wildlife markets. You don’t have to be dependent on crop production efforts that deplete life… Just Add Life with AgriGro®.

    • 50 min
    Evan Ryan on Diversified Farming in Hawai’i

    Evan Ryan on Diversified Farming in Hawai’i

    Do you feel like you’re always pushing and fighting with what nature wants to do on your farm? Have you considered a slower, more integrated approach where everything works together to support the whole?
    Today we’re joined by Evan Ryan, Founder of Pono Grown Farm Center, hailing all the way from Makawao, Hawai’i. Pono Grown Farm Center is a 15-acre diverse farm that offers fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, plants, land design and educational workshops. They are all about growing in harmony with the land and their community in a way that supports all individuals feeling nourished in every way. Pono Grown Farm Center loves clean water, fresh air, nourishing food, and vibrant community and makes all of their decisions in a way that best offers these to all life. 
    After two years of designing and another two years of infrastructure improvements, they are now planting food for the community. They also offer a community honey processing facility for backyard beekeepers and are home to Maui Seed Savers that is working to build a healthy culture of seed saving and breeding using mother nature's natural techniques to create locally adapted plant varieties.
    Tune in today to hear all about the inner (and outer) workings of this diverse, exotic farm!
    You’ll hear:
    What brought Evan to Maui 1:58 What Pono Grown looked like the first few years 4:20 The biggest mistakes people getting into permaculture make 6:35 The types of energy the farm runs on 8:37 How Pono Grown goes about marketing 12:51 What the Hawai’i Seed Growers Network is 18:25 Hawai’i Home Gardens 20:19 Evan’s favorite crop to grow 24:50 How Evan goes about hiring the right help 27:39 What the bed preparation is like on Pono Grown 33:56 Pono Grown pest management protocol 35:51 The challenges of farming in Maui 43:18 How Evan manages a work/life balance 46:11 About the Guest: 
    Evan Ryan is a Maui farmer, seed saver, educator and author using holistic agricultural practices combined with a diversified business model. With a background in indigenous agroforestry and permaculture, he started Pono Grown Farm in 2012, both a production farm and education center.  In addition to 2.5 acres of vegetables, over 400 fruit trees, chickens and bees, the 13-acre landscape is home to a farm-based preschool and kindergarten, a thriving internship program, a nature connection summer camp and is a campus for farm apprentice programs, University of Hawai'i ag classes, and residential courses on earth stewardship. Evan lives on the farm with his wife, Danielle, and 7-year-old son, Bija.
     
    Resources:
    Website: www.ponogrown.org and www.hawaiihomegardens.com
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/evnryan 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ponogrownfarm/?hl=en 
     
    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
    At AgriGro®, we know that in today’s modern agriculture, our efforts can deplete life or add life. When you look for ways to add life, it’s sustainable and makes everything work better. The result is enhanced plant and soil health for crops, gardens, and turf, as well as improved animal health and environment for livestock and wildlife.
    Our products are all-natural, easy to use, and friendly to the soil, the plant, as well as the grower. AgriGro’s® formulations deliver essential plant nutrition along with an advanced prebiotic concentrate, which significantly increases the multitude of beneficial native microbial species already residing in the production environment.
    Through these environmentally sound technologies, we’re adding life to crop production, livestock, home, turf, and wildlife markets. You don’t have to be dependent on crop production efforts that deplete life…Just Add Life with AgriGro®.

    • 55 min
    Jordan Green on the Role Children Play in a Farm Business

    Jordan Green on the Role Children Play in a Farm Business

    Do your kids want to be a part of your farm? How can you best integrate them into the farming lifestyle? 
    In today’s episode we’re hosting Jordan Green, lifelong farmer, owner of FarmBuilder LLC, and co-owner of J & L Green Farm, located in Edinburg, Virginia. FarmBuilder LLC is a consultancy that works with property owners and aspiring farmers to develop farms that sustain communities. J & L Green Farm is a pasture-based, direct-to-retail farm. 
    Managing 500 acres of beautiful farmland, Jordan and his wife, Laura, started the farm in 2009 and have been steadily growing since then. They raise animals ethically with regenerative/sustainable practices and in harmony with nature. They currently offer grass-fed and grass-finished beef, pasture-raised poultry, and forest-raised pork products. They also collaborate with local farms with the same philosophy to provide farm-fresh eggs, raw milk cheeses, honey, organically grown vegetables, and other farm foods. 
    In addition to selling through various retail outlets in the greater Virginia area, J & L Green Farm offers nationwide shipping, home delivery, and delivery to drop-sites all over the Northern Virginia area. 
    Tune in to hear all about how Jordan and his wife manage this thriving farm enterprise! 
    You’ll hear:
    What J&L Farm is all about 1:40 How Covid impacted the farm’s operations 2:29 What prompted Jordan’s viral Facebook post about kids on the farm 8:54 The family business Jordan grew up with 13:32 What farmers should do to get their kids involved in the farm but not end up hating it 20:49 How farmers can show their kids a good work/life balance 29:41 How you can teach kids a good work ethic without scaring them off 36:54 How Jordan teaches his kids about what success is 40:17 Jordan’s thoughts on microenterprises for kids surrounding the farm 44:02 What Jordan does to ensure he enjoys life on the farm with the kids 45:26 About the Guest: 
    Jordan Green is the founder of FarmBuilder (2017 – current), co-owner of J & L Green Farm in Edinburg, Virginia (2009 – current), a United States Marine Corps veteran (2004-2009), and graduate of the apprentice program at Polyface Inc. (2001-2002). Prior to that, he grew up on his family’s homestead in Virginia and had several successful small farm enterprises.
    Resources:
    Website: www.jlgreenfarm.com 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jlgreenfarm/ 
    Instagram: https://bit.ly/jlgreenfarm 
     
    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
    At AgriGro®, we know that in today’s modern agriculture, our efforts can deplete life or add life. When you look for ways to add life, it’s sustainable and makes everything work better. The result is enhanced plant and soil health for crops, gardens, and turf, as well as improved animal health and environment for livestock and wildlife.
    Our products are all-natural, easy to use, and friendly to the soil, the plant, as well as the grower. AgriGro’s® formulations deliver essential plant nutrition along with an advanced prebiotic concentrate, which significantly increases the multitude of beneficial native microbial species already residing in the production environment.
    Through these environmentally sound technologies, we’re adding life to crop production, livestock, home, turf, and wildlife markets. You don’t have to be dependent on crop production efforts that deplete life…Just Add Life with AgriGro®.

    • 57 min
    Kelly Clark on Education and Community–Involved Permaculture

    Kelly Clark on Education and Community–Involved Permaculture

    Do you have a passion for education and for farming? Can you live your dream and combine the two?
    Today we’re joined by Kelly Clark, Founder of Kelly’s Working Well Farm, located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Kelly’s Working Well Farm is an educational permaculture farm dedicated to the community. Take one piece of abandoned property at the edge of town, add a handful of sheep and goats, plus chickens and a couple of dogs, invite the community, and you have the long and short of the farm’s origin story! 
    As a teacher, Kelly spent her career seeking ways to cultivate authentic and lasting learning in her students, focusing not on external validation or evaluation, but rather on meaningful engagement with the material at hand. 
    Kelly’s Working Well Farm was created to provide an environment in which individuals could learn, grow, and explore through freely chosen, authentic, and meaningful activities. In such an environment, the boundary between work and play dissolves, and community bonds are formed via mutual interest and endeavors. 
    Join us to hear all about Kelly’s unique thriving farmer journey!
     
    You’ll hear:
    What brought Kelly over from the teaching world to the farming world 1:27
    The process of bringing the educational programs into the farm 6:31
    How Kelly educates the children when they come to her farm 12:29
    What different enterprises Kelly’s Working Well Farm is involved in 14:23
    What kind of dehydrator they use 17:00 
    How Kelly uses sheep on the farm 21:51
    Some of the struggles Kelly faced with the farm 26:32
    People involved in Kelly’s legal case with the local township 30:52
    What the future holds for Kelly’s Working Well Farm 33:49
    What the marketing looks like for Kelly’s farm 41:02
    Kelly’s favorite farming tool 46:03
     
    About the Guest: 
    Kelly was inspired to start Kelly's Working Well Farm in order to create a place for members of the community to learn about permaculture and how to grow food and practice ways of living that benefit the Earth, each other, and the other beings with which we share this planet, our home. She grew up in northeast Ohio and has returned to stay there. Kelly is grateful to have the opportunity to nurture this land and observe as it becomes more productive with each passing year and also how it in turn nurtures the spirits of those who spend time there.

    Resources:
    Website: https://morethanafarm.org/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellysWorkingWellFarm 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/morethanafarm.kwwf/?hl=en# 
     
    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
    At AgriGro®, we know that in today’s modern agriculture, our efforts can deplete life or add life. When you look for ways to add life, it’s sustainable and makes everything work better. The result is enhanced plant and soil health for crops, gardens, and turf, as well as improved animal health and environment for livestock and wildlife.
    Our products are all-natural, easy to use, and friendly to the soil, the plant, as well as the grower. AgriGro’s® formulations deliver essential plant nutrition along with an advanced prebiotic concentrate, which significantly increases the multitude of beneficial native microbial species already residing in the production environment.
    Through these environmentally sound technologies, we’re adding life to crop production, livestock, home, turf, and wildlife markets. You don’t have to be dependent on crop production efforts that deplete life…Just Add Life with AgriGro®.

    • 48 min
    John Barker on Fusing Culinary Skills with Farming to Create Added Value

    John Barker on Fusing Culinary Skills with Farming to Create Added Value

    How can you create added value to your farm using your skills and interests?
    Today on the show we’re hosting John Barker, Director of Agriculture and co-owner of Forts Ferry Farm, located in Latham, New York. Forts Ferry Farm is a collective of innovators, farmers, and food lovers. Their farm is a year-round hive of activity that is continuously expanding and evolving—a living component of the region’s unique climate and rich soils. Their seasonally-focused, hyper farm-to-table kitchen crafts flavor from the ground up. 
    John has been running the farm operations here ever since their very humble beginning in 2015. Join us to hear about the operations behind Forts Ferry and what it’s like to farm in New York!
     
    You’ll hear:
    What Forts Ferry Farm produces 2:14
    The climate/growing conditions in Latham, NY 3:14
    How Forts Ferry goes about marketing 6:53
    What the soil is like on the farm 16:46
    John’s favorite peppers to grow 19:58
    How Forts Ferry uses photography for marketing 26:55
    How Forts Ferry offers their prepared foods 30:26
    How they built a great team 32:31
    What it was like to start the farm 38:37
    Types of fertilizer they use on the farm 45:57
     
    About the Guest: 
    At Forts Ferry Farm, John spearheads the leadership and strategic planning of the agriculture department. During the week, you can find him helping the field team with planting, weeding, and harvests, selling fresh produce at the local farmers’ market or coordinating and facilitating educational opportunities for youths in the community through tours, demonstrations, and workshops. John has been working on his family's farm from a young age and also as a professional chef for much of his adult life, which gives him a unique perspective on how to grow and prepare food.
    Having worked on his family’s 1,500-plus-acre commodity crop farm, John brought his technical know-how to the business since its inception, and has since been in charge of administering all tractor-related tasks and maintaining all of the farm tools and equipment. His daily responsibilities also include livestock care, from feeding and caring for the cattle, to collecting and washing eggs laid by their heritage hens.
    As a Culinary Institute of America alumnus with 15 years of experience working as a professional chef prior to starting the farm, John believes that patience and simple techniques are key when preparing food with fresh, quality ingredients.  

    Resources:
    Website: https://www.fortsferryfarm.com/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fortsferryfarm/ 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortsferryfarm/ 
     
    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
    At AgriGro®, we know that in today’s modern agriculture, our efforts can deplete life or add life. When you look for ways to add life, it’s sustainable and makes everything work better. The result is enhanced plant and soil health for crops, gardens, and turf, as well as improved animal health and environment for livestock and wildlife.
    Our products are all-natural, easy to use, and friendly to the soil, the plant, as well as the grower. AgriGro’s® formulations deliver essential plant nutrition along with an advanced prebiotic concentrate, which significantly increases the multitude of beneficial native microbial species already residing in the production environment.
    Through these environmentally sound technologies, we’re adding life to crop production, livestock, home, turf, and wildlife markets. You don’t have to be dependent on crop production efforts that deplete life…Just Add Life with AgriGro®.

    • 52 min
    Michael and Lauren Marchand on Running a Diversified, Bio-intensive Farm in the Tropics

    Michael and Lauren Marchand on Running a Diversified, Bio-intensive Farm in the Tropics

    What is farm life like in the tropics? 
    On today’s episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, we’re joined by Michael and Lauren Marchand, co-founders of Lapa'au Farm, located in Maui, Hawaii. Lapa’au Farm is a two-acre, bio-intensive farming operation. Michael and Lauren practice “beyond organic” methods, which means they forgo modern organic methods that allow a long list of pesticides to still be used. Instead, they focus on biodiversity and seasonal crops, with a strong focus on building organic matter in their soil. Tune in as they give us a behind-the-scenes look at running a business, what it's like to be entrepreneurs, and how to navigate having a significant other as your thriving farm business partner! 
    You’ll hear:
    What Lapa'au Farm uses for substrate on their mushrooms 1:52
    What Lapa'au Farm is all about 4:20
    What their tunnel production is like 12:22
    How their CSAs coincide with the seasons in Hawaii 22:25
    The various ways Lauren and Michael use mushroom substrate 25:39
    Marketing channels Lapa'au uses to get the word out 29:39
    Size of the Lapa'au team 36:05
    Equipment they use 44:00
    What they use for microbes 54:15
    Lauren and Michael’s words of encouragement for newer or aspiring farmers 56:44
    Why beginning farmers should start small 1.09:38
    About the Guest:
    Michael and Lauren Marchand are the co-owners of Lapa’au Farm, a two-acre bio-intensive farm located in Maui, Hawaii utilizing organic and regenerative practices. Lauren and Michael moved to Maui in 2015 after graduating from Chapman University. Since 2017, the mission of Lapa’au Farm has been to create a bio-intensive and regenerative approach with the goal of creating a closed-loop system for increased sustainability. Michael began experimenting with growing oyster mushrooms early on in the business and quickly discovered that expanding this area of production was something worth investing in. Lapa’au farm now produces around 500 lbs. of oyster mushrooms per week, in addition to a variety of other seasonal vegetables, including root crops, salad greens, and brassicas. 
    Resources:
    Website: https://www.lapaau.farm/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lapaaufarm 
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lapaau_farm/ 
    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!
    At AgriGro®, we know that in today’s modern agriculture, our efforts can deplete life or add life. When you look for ways to add life, it’s sustainable and makes everything work better. The result is enhanced plant and soil health for crops, gardens, and turf, as well as improved animal health and environment for livestock and wildlife.
    Our products are all-natural, easy to use, and friendly to the soil, the plant, as well as the grower. AgriGro’s® formulations deliver essential plant nutrition along with an advanced prebiotic concentrate, which significantly increases the multitude of beneficial native microbial species already residing in the production environment.
    Through these environmentally sound technologies, we’re adding life to crop production, livestock, home, turf, and wildlife markets. You don’t have to be dependent on crop production efforts that deplete life…Just Add Life with AgriGro®.

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
248 Ratings

248 Ratings

Blackbeard-4590 ,

Fantastic! Incredible wealth of information

If you are a hobby farmer, a market gardener, a home gardener or even a large scale farmer, there is a lot of wonderful information here.
If you looking for higher yields and much higher nutritional quality from your efforts then this is the place to gain that knowledge. If you are looking to spend less money while getting far more success from your growing efforts then this is also the place for you.

HORSE enthusiast KES ,

Great topics

I listen regularly even about things I don’t farm - just to learn! Great guests!

indigoforest ,

Love this podcast

This is an informative entertaining podcast. I am a novice but Michael Kilpatrick’s knowledge of the industry combined with the veteran guest farmers make any subject enjoyable and accessible.

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