I'm likin' the term..................

ECOpreneurs.....farmers and small business owners that embrace lean and green living.

I heard Lisa Kivirist speak at an event sponsored by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network.  Lisa has been a virtual/print mentor of mine since I started Miss Eff's.

When I started this business 10 years ago ... I thought there were few women-owned farms to give me hope and inspiration.  Well, I was wrong .... there were lots of women, working in large garden plots and farm fields. Unfortunately, we didn't know a lot about each other. Blogging was almost non-existent.  And I wouldn't have been reading them anyway!

Lisa, on the other hand, was "out there".  She was building a name for herself as she was building  a bed and breakfast on her farm. A practical and inspirational writer, she had many articles published in Mother Earth News and Hobby Farmer. So to hear her speak about women in agriculture was almost a dream come true.

One point made an enormous impact.   It was "Harvest low hanging fruit".  Big dreams are great.  I love big dreams.  But big dreams cost money.  And sometimes, there isn't money to fulfill those dreams .... maybe no money to buy that ladder!  So we look at ourselves and set aside our dreams. We listen to the line ... Go big or go home!  Sometimes, success comes by  harvesting low hanging fruit. 

Now that the growing season is over, I am concentrating on filling the Summer Kitchen ... for now and the summer months. What can I create that is useful, practical and fits the vision of the Summer Kitchen?  So I'm knitting dishcloths. No ... its not a sexy product.  No ... its not a big ticket item.  They are $5 dishcloths. 

The profit percentage is decent.  The product is well done. (Hey ... if I have to, I'll drag out my blue ribbons for knitting!) But I can do them ... quick, easy and cute. Low hanging fruit!

One of the best examples of using low hanging fruit is from my friend Jill.  OK -- Jill is the perfect example of using what you have and this post should be in every farmer's office ..... thinking outside the CSA box!

Many times we see expansion as going bigger and better.  I'm learning to see expansion ... as not an upward movement ... but a lateral movement.  What do I do already that I can develop?  What little niche can I fill with what I currently grow, raise or do?

When I first started ... I grew herbs for cutting.  I planted 360 basil plants. I had the nicest basil crop ever. 
And I sold enough basil to pay for one plant.


The next year, I cut back on herbs ......... and still didn't make any money.

But the problem wasn't with the plants ... it was with me.  I thought ... Customers will pick their own herbs, like they do their flowers.  Not so much. 

It was a lack of creative thinking on my part. Now, we are working on herb bouquets, herb teas, lemonades and jellies.  Value-added agriculture that has a much higher profit margin than herbs stuffed into a bucket.  

Low hanging fruit.

I'm kind of short.  I like ideas that I can reach.


girlwithasword said…
LOVE this post, Cathy! Very true, and very inspirational!!

Popular Posts