interview with farmer mark
Why did you become a farmer?
For a long time, I did not realize how poor the food system was in our country. After spending more than a decade in the restaurant industry and learning first-hand how much we need to improve the food system that we all rely on, I wanted to learn as much as I could. I began volunteering on a farm and my passion for this work and for being part of a healthy food system grew from there.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of the farming job is the office work involved. There is much behind-the-scenes work required, so finding a way to balance the time between “outside” work and “inside” work is an ongoing challenge. During the “off” season on the farm, I try to do as much as I can to prepare a working blue print for the season ahead - things like member outreach, crop plans, field plans, curriculum for my apprentices, etc - to minimize the office work as much as possible once the season begins.
What's the best part of your job?
I love being a teacher and passing along the farming craft to my apprentices by integrating them into all the community building aspects of the farm.
What are your goals for Saltbox Farm for the next few years?
We have many plans for moving the farm into the future. Some of the more immediate goals are:
Continue our soil fertility program for sustaining optimal health
Building community involvement with the farm's day to day activities as well as more events on the farm
Infrastructure improvements for efficiency and growth - including renovating the barn for our CSA distribution, building new fences for our livestock's pastures, and working towards the contraction of a new greenhouse to support our growing needs.
What do you like to do when you're not working on the farm?
Farm life can be all-consuming, particularly during the harvest. I try to find balance outside of work meditating, spending time with my family and friends, hiking with my dog, practicing Yoga, and cooking.