Today, marks the end of my Culinary Marketing: Farm to Table class. I found it quite an amazing class, as it was my first class under the sustainable foods school so everything was new to me. I tried my best to soak it all in like a cracker dipped in water.
In hindsight one of my favorite parts of the class was defiantly everything involved with the MSU extension farm Towne’s Harvest Garden. It’s an education extension of the college, but essentially operates like a business. It provides a cool relationship with the school, students and the community and allows great organic local produce to enter the community.
THG features organic and sustainable practices to produce the best vegetables possible in Gallatin county. They operate on 4 acres but plant very conservatively to not over stress the soil. They also feature a very complex crop rotation schedule to not deplete the soil of any essential nutrients. The work constantly to improve the soil through ruminant animals grazing cover crops and grass as well as composting. THG grows the best cucumbers strawberries and squash that I have ever had.
I learned a lot about the way THG operates as a business helping sell produce at the farm stand and it was fascinating. THG essential gets free labor all year long from student who actually have to pay money to work on the farm. They only have 2 paid employees that work on the farm and the main employee who runs it gets his salary paid for from the college. The only costs the farm has are the equipment, employee number 2, the seeds and other farm expenses like plastic and services to improve the soil. Due to their costs being drastically less then other farms of their scale, they actually have to artificially increase prices to lower demand so they don’t put other farms out of business.
It’s cool to think about other ways to lower the cost of labor on a farm to THG levels. Cough cough Hydroponics Cough.