I believe that there are opportunities to farm successfully by direct-marketing crops to local markets. I also believe that it would be a good thing for our community if more farmers did. But I have to confess that when given the opportunity to advise other farmers to do what I’m doing, I usually don’t.
Maybe I’m just trying to protect what is currently a small market niche and keep it for myself. I don’t think that is wrong, even if it sounds a little selfish. But I think the real answer is a bit complex. To me it feels like I’m advising someone to become a Rock musician as a career. Obviously it is possible to become a huge success, and there are always new acts making a go of it. But people don’t get into rock on the advice of others. If you are going to succeed in that field, you have to get it. You need to have a passion and a drive that is only going to come from inside you. It’s not the safe thing to do; it’s not the smart money move. The people who succeed do so because that was their path, and the could follow no other. I think this is true for alternative agriculture. If I can inspire someone to follow or even build on my example, that’s great. But if they are depending on someone like me for answers? Then it isn’t going to happen for them, because I haven’t got any.
So when people refer to “rockstar farmers”, they may be more accurate than they realize.