Kelly Engelmann: Wellness is a practice, not just a word. Welcome to the Synergee Podcast, where myself, Kelly Engelman and Lori Esery shed light on powerful tools and topics that nourish your body, and most importantly, feed your soul.
Hi, Synergee listeners, Lori and I are extremely excited about today’s interview. We have Taylor Yowell with The Garden Farmacy that will be joining us. And listen, he is going to really change the way that you’re thinking about how you’re eating, where you’re getting your food, how it’s sourced. He’s gonna help us think about some really cool things that we could be doing at home, like composting and juicing and investing in a csa.
So listen. We know that food is medicine. You guys already know that. If you’ve been following us for any length of time, but this will really challenge you to perhaps do things different on a daily basis. We are so excited to be back in production for podcasts and today we have with us Taylor Yowell.
Taylor is a local farmer right here in the metro Jackson area, and Lori and I are really excited to have him with us today. Taylor, I want you to start off by telling us your story. Like how did you get into this? Because you didn’t go to school, you were an engineer, right?
Taylor Yowell: That’s right.
Kelly Engelmann: You student.
Taylor Yowell: You’re right, there is a story to it. How good of a story it is I guess, to be judged. Although it began in 2011, so that’d be 12 years ago. I was working as a civil engineer in Madison County, and I was young, I was 23 and I was used to, in college I worked at a garden center so I was used to working around plants, but then also realizing how being pint up in a office and eating fast food for lunch every day, I just wasn’t feeling. As good as I could. And then also, realizing wow, they’re starting to, carry organic produce in the grocery stores around here, us really when the organic trend was starting to pick up and that love and that work with plants that I was doing in college, and then noticing and becoming aware of there’s other choices you can make in the food world and in the grocery store that can better your health and make you stronger, smarter all kinds of everything’s, food is everything. And so that’s when I started brainstorming with the idea of, well, maybe I could learn how to become an organic farmer.
And that’s where the fun began is I realized I wanted to learn how to become an organic farmer in Mississippi , where unfortunately, It just wasn’t here at that time. The closest thing to it would be, pretty much grandparents that were growing, their own vegetable garden in their backyard would be as close as you can get, and that’s where the search began for finding a farm somewhere where I can just delve into this idea that I have of wanting to learn how to grow organic. And I sent my resume through throughout the country, ultimately to all kinds of different farms and some of them certified organic and some not. Went through a lot of interviews, just like any normal job process. But then I was accepted for one in Northern California in Humboldt County on a certified organic farm vegetable farm. And they were also a one acre, certified organic vineyard where they were creating organic wine on the premises also and so, after communicating and going through the interviewing process with this farmer, I decided to take the job and I put in my two weeks at the civil engineering firm and I drove west,
Kelly Engelmann: a long, long way,
Taylor Yowell: a very long way, packed up everything I had and just hit the road.
Lori Esarey: Taylor that’s way west, to pack up everything and just take a risk. So what happened next?
Taylor Yowell: And I got to this farm and it was very secluded, very isolated it was actually on a Native American reservation on the Hoopa, native American tribe in Northern California, which is the largest Native American reservation in California.
And it was wild. It really was. They were along the Trinity River and it just had everything. Natural about it in a lot of ways, and then just happened to also be a very productive, organic farm, and so what I learned immediately it’s about not only how the produce is being grown, but where it’s being grown. And there was clean air, clean water, just pollution from vehicles or whatever runoff there may be, in the creeks or streams. But it was real pristine. And that was a huge, I think realization at the standpoint of. Well, I have found health, I don’t only in how we’re, what we’re doing here, but the environment itself.
And that’s where I started an apprenticeship for one year, there at Green Fire Farm in Hoopa, California. And that whole year, it was just a grind the whole time. The farmer was just, he was teaching a lot, but also we were just working because we had to make, money for the farmer and for ourselves to survive. And, it just turned out to be an isolated farm, although the community it was in, which was an hour and a half, east, I’m sorry, west on the Pacific Ocean, a community called Arcata, and they had a very vibrant farmer’s market, extremely vibrant, the community just really absorbed it and supported it, and so, I learned that there is a market, there’s a way you can make money with this style, this career also. And so I was just picking up on all these things and that was the first year where I learned a lot I stuck with the farm the whole year, did all four seasons, and then the year after that, I decided to take on another apprenticeship, but one focused on fruit tree production, nursery trees. They were an online fruit tree nursery selling. Over 700 different varieties of fruit trees around the country. And so I immediately went into learning how to propagate trees, meaning not only learning how to grow, harvest and pick fruit, but how to create the tree itself.
Kelly Engelmann: And that’s where you fell in love, right? That’s your dig in passion there.
Taylor Yowell: You’re right. Because it’s kind of like, it’s a seed that lasts with your vegetables, you plant the seed, you harvest, you’re done for the year. So I was really intrigued with this model of, wow, there can actually be an organic farm that’s not always the soil being tilled and always putting down, fertilizer, chicken, manured, things like that. But one that stays in place and not only grows on its own, but takes care and maintains itself too. And so that principle in farming, I just became absolutely obsessed with. And then once I finished a yearlong apprenticeship at this location, the second one, the name of the farm is Rolling River Farm. It was even further in the wilderness. It was very interesting to just meet these families and people who just decided to live. A lifestyle of solidarity and isolation so that they could have the food, that it really, their bodies and minds needed to be who they wanted to be, which is fascinating.
So after two years of grinding it out and learning a lot, I decided I was done being isolated as, at that point I was 25 years old and ready to go have fun. And so I moved immediately to Richmond Virginia. On the East coast, and I started working for an organic farm right outside of Richmond that was an all vegetable CSA farm and jumped right in. They put me at manager and it was my first year to grow on my own without direction per say, but the way the farm operated was the owner of the farm, was the CEO of Harvard Medical School. He and his wife owned the land and managed the operation, but I was the farmer.
And so it was very cool to have that connection I guess and, a very well connected, family growing vegetables for their farm and doing what kind of bringing to fruition what they wanted to see happen with their land. And it was great. So I spent the whole year there, selling vegetables and doing the CSA model throughout the Richmond, Virginia area and just got a really, good experience on what it takes to grow on the East Coast at that point. So now I’ve got the West Coast experience, now I’ve got the East Coast experience and then at that point I said, well, I’m ready to start my own farm. I’m ready. And, that’s very hard to do. So I came home, really with no leads, nothing. Realizing I was gonna have to start from scratch, and I kind of just kind of muddled around there was I wasn’t getting any breaks, any leads. The money was becoming an obstacle. How am I gonna afford this? How am I gonna pay for it? And, so I was just kind of fingers crossed, things just not really happening until I went to an organic farming conference. In Mobile Alabama, about two months after being home. And I met a lot of farmers that were in the south that were operating. And this conference is, one held every year by, really a kind of a regional organic farming committee.
And so they had unique speakers and all kinds of different farms there. And I met a group of farmers from Mississippi. That had just started, not only within that year, but just like very recently. So the organic trend at that point had made it to Mississippi, just barely. The Young farming initiative was there just barely.
And so I showed up back home at the right time, and I met the right people. I met Will Reed who owns Native Sun Farm in Tupelo, Mississippi, and Samuel McLemore, he was there as well he has a bountiful harvest farms in Starkville. Two very incredible young farmers that are still in operation today. And I got to talking to Will Reed of Native Sun Farm and he offered me a job. And so, I realized that it would kind of set me up back a little bit, with the idea of finding my own land, being in that mental search for things. It’s a full-time job also, working with realtors, so,. I just stepped away from that idea and I went and worked for Will Reed as an apprentice, so here I am I found myself back in an apprenticeship program my fourth won. So, kind of like my, it would be equivalent to being a senior in college at that point. when I thought I was done, when I thought I’d already graduated. And so, here we are in Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s Will Reed, myself and, one other apprentice and I realize, that Will’s a very ambitious farmer, which most farmers are, but when I realized his vegetable field was 30 acres and there was three of us, I was like, oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into? and I was right because the whole entire year it was like one thing after another. Not necessarily cuz of the, scope or how large his farm is, but it’s a very good farm. But challenges kept coming up. His daughter was diagnosed with cancer about a month and a half after I’d been there and so he was gone all of a sudden. And so now, it was me and another apprentice running a 300 member, roughly 300 member CSA farm. And the, you had no option except for either quit or just keep going.
And that’s where the real experience kicked in. I thought it was cool learning and working for old established farmers in California and learning all these things, but then I learned what it was going to take to own a business or to make tough calls, on the farm when you don’t have really any options at all.
Lori Esarey: There was a part of that what you just got to is when the, when the going gets tough. The tough get going and you either have a choice to allow that adversity to grow you or to destroy you. And in that situation, you said it really taught you a lot. You had already seen a lot. It sounds to me you are a forever student.
Taylor Yowell: Yes.
Lori Esarey: Is that right? Is that what I’m picking up on?
Taylor Yowell: You are correct. Yes, ma’am. Yep. And that’s farming and that’s the world we live in ultimately is everybody really is. But in the world of farming where things get thrown at you very severely left and right, unexpectedly and you have money involved and the reality of trying to make a living also, it seems to hit very hard too, consistently.
Kelly Engelmann: I was reading some statistics a few years back and farmers were the top of the list for stress. Of any career. Top of the list. So what are the things that create stress for a farmer? I mean, the weather seems, like the biggest.
Taylor Yowell: Yes.
Kelly Engelmann: But maybe it’s not. Maybe there are other things that are more pressing, but you would think the weather conditions.
Taylor Yowell: Yes. Weather is certainly top and and foremost. It’s a career where you can do everything absolutely perfect, and you still are guaranteed nothing at the very end, and it’s because of that exposure, outdoor with the weather, etcetera, but also just how easily injury can happen.
And then you’re. You’re toast, at least for a little while. But things that we deal with in Mississippi that make it hard and stressful, and I’m sure similar in a lot of other places, it’s not only the heat from the long summer, but the insects, the fire ants, the snakes, the I mean the spiders, I turn over heads of cabbage sometime and there’s black widows and you’re just like, that could have easily got, how did it not? So it’s not only dealing with the weather, but just the environment in general. And that’s what makes it hard because you’re doing it day after day and sometimes the weather is your friend sometimes it’s wonderful, it’s a beautiful day and everything’s going right. But then, usually that means there’s bad weather right around the corner and then you, so you lose all of that very quickly when something, like a tornado or severe thunder storm is in the general area of your farm, it is stressful and another thing,
Lori Esarey: and it’s very unpredictable.
Taylor Yowell: Yes.
Lori Esarey: It’s very unpredictable, right? So I would ask the question, what makes the risk worth it to you?
Taylor Yowell: That’s a great question.
Lori Esarey: What makes the risk worth it?
Taylor Yowell: Sure. What makes it worth it is the unknown, is the fact that you are doing something that you don’t know what the final outcome is going to be. And it’s like in a good way, it’s positive gambling. Cuz if you, if it does work out well, you’re gonna make money doing it, but if it doesn’t work out, you make a loss. So it’s a little bit of my personality and, somewhat adventurous, but then also willing to take a gamble, but then also to, succeed with slight ambition at the same time.
Kelly Engelmann: I wanna go back to the beginning of what you said. When you’re sitting in Jackson Mississippi, or the area and you’re at the grocery store, you know you need to be eating better and, you’re not seeing a whole lot of what you need. You see a little bit of it trickling in.
Taylor Yowell: That’s right.
Kelly Engelmann: But you’re not seeing a whole lot, and so you go on this quest to, figure out how to produce that.
Taylor Yowell: Exactly.
Kelly Engelmann: Like how can I bring this back to the community? And I, I think that’s what makes a hero.
Taylor Yowell: Well, thank you.
Kelly Engelmann: Because I can’t do my job. Lori can’t do her job in helping people heal without the right types of food that are good quality, that are, as you said before, clean. The clean air, clean water, clean food is what we talk about all day long. And so I have been just amazed by your work from the very first time I met you and saw your produce.
Taylor Yowell: Thank you.
Kelly Engelmann: Like it is, incredibly beautiful and delicious and interesting. There were things in my bag that I had no idea what they were. And I had to figure out how to prepare. But that’s fun.
Taylor Yowell: That is fun. And you’re very correct hell it’s something where the community has to get behind it. For us to be successful, it has to have people like you, to bring it together and also to share why you think it’s so unique with other people that brings them into it.
Lori Esarey: So you guys hit on a topic, CSA, and we throw initials around all the time in our communities, and we assume sometimes that people know what that means, but many of our community don’t know what that means. And I know that that’s something that you, Kelly, have taken advantage of and I’ve heard you Taylor speaking about that, can you give us a little bit more information about what is a CSA and what does it.
Taylor Yowell: Sure. That’s a great question. It really helps, bring the movement, the organic farming movement to, surface to explain and help people understand what a CSA is.
The CSA model. Before I delve into it, it began in the 1970’s. It was a way for people, who wanted to get back to the land, who wanted to maybe raise their children on a farm and, and still try to make a living without going into the office every day. To have a model that is generic, that everybody can easily learn and to replicate also and share. And so what the model is that, as an organic farmer, you have to be diversified to be resilient. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, as in, in most careers or really anything. And so, the model is, Hey, let’s grow squash, let’s grow cucumbers, let’s grow tomatoes, let’s grow eggplant, let’s grow basil, other herbs, peppermint, time, oregano. And then, that gives us the ability to put together a package. We’re not just dropping off a 20 pound box of tomatoes, we’re dropping off a package that stands for, or it creates an option and an ability for a family that invests into this farm into the CSA model, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, to be able to cook two or three different meals using all these different vegetables or, very diversified cooking it helps inspire them to be more of a chef. So what CSA stands for, like I just mentioned, is community supported agriculture. And really what that means in a nutshell is that. Folks like Kelly, like you, people in your neighborhood, in your office are going to say, I’m gonna join The Garden Farmacy’s CSA this year. And every single week during that growing season, you’re gonna get that box of vegetables.
That bag of vegetables. It has 8, 9, 10 different items in it. And that’s what makes it fun and unique. And so when you hear a farm say, we’re gonna do a CSA this year, all that means is that you’re going to, you have the ability to join their farm, to invest into that farm and get a share of that produce each week, depending on what’s in season. And the fun part about it is with the diversity that the CSA is, if say, since you are practicing organic by the way, and you’re not spraying things, if you have something wipe out your tomato crop. Which is unfortunate, it does happen though. You have other things to go in there, into that, box or that bag.
And so the family is investing and taking a little bit of a risk, into that farm. But with the idea of not only just getting something, a lot of people think they’re just investing into, or they’re paying us and they just get vegetables. But what they get is the general idea that the farmers are shepherding the land, they’re taking care of the land, they’re making sure that the air might be slightly cleaner, that there may be, a healthier balance within the ecosystem of good and bad insects.
So what people are getting when they invest into a CSA program, so not just the vegetables, it’s the improvement and the continuation of a healthy ecosystem where they may live, breathe or work. And that’s what I try to get people to understand is that, the CSA model is a great model to invest into a farm, but just don’t expect produce you should be really proud of investing into your environment as well.
Kelly Engelmann: So one of the things I heard you say was, creating resilience. And that’s something that Lori and I talk a lot about with our patients, is we want to create in them resilience, we want to create in them a lifestyle that’s building resilience. And, we get a lot of that resilience capacity from what we put in our bodies.
Taylor Yowell: You’re exactly right.
Kelly Engelmann: Right. So that produce, I’m assuming from an organic farm where the land is cared for is more nutrient dense, there’s more nutrient value in that food. Than per se you would get at the grocery store where something’s been shipped halfway across the world.
Taylor Yowell: You’re exactly right.
Kelly Engelmann: And we’re getting in season as well. So one of the things that we wanted to talk about today is sustainability, resilience, and how that plays into what someone can do at home. To create that for themselves. And I heard you say invest in a CSA. That’s one of the things that you can do regardless of what community you’re in. There should be a CSA in your area that you can invest in to be part of the solution.
Taylor Yowell: Yep, you’re right.
Lori Esarey: How does a person locate a CSA? I know we have one here in Florida and I’m super happy that we do, and I love my box when I get it. I have to say it forces me out of my comfort zones, and it certainly stretches my cooking abilities. We like to throw recipes in there, but how would a person locate a CSA that’s not in your area or where I’m at.
Taylor Yowell: Sure. That’s a great question. I highly recommend going to your local farmer’s market, and usually those CSA farms are also going to be at the farmer’s market, and they also. Some farms even have their CSA pickup at a farmer’s market.
And so really it just takes engaging the community within those options of how or where fresh produce may be sold in your community or even at a local co-op, a lot of even larger cities have co-ops and, those co-ops support local organic farms, and so they would certainly know just by being in communication with the farmer. And then I really think social media’s a great tool as well for finding these farms. If it weren’t for social media, a lot of these small farms would already be toast. I mean, it’s just been such a great marketing tool for low budget operations and trendy as well. Everybody likes to see a good picture of a tomato or something, so social media, farmer’s markets or local co-op are gonna be your best option.
Kelly Engelmann: Not all small farmers are organic.
Taylor Yowell: Sure.
Kelly Engelmann: Right. So what questions can people ask the farmer, to see because I know getting certified organic is oftentimes cost prohibitive. And you can’t really claim that. But what questions can they ask the farmer to make sure that they are getting the best, in the way of produce.
Taylor Yowell: Sure. Simply, it seems like there’s a popular slogan right now. Know you’re a farmer, just get to know ’em. I think ask ’em, just really basic normal questions. Become friends with them and then just ask, start asking them very, simple questions about their farm.
Do you use a tractor? Do you not use a tractor? What’s your favorite crop to grow? What’s your favorite fertilizer? Fertilizer is where it kind of gives way there. Most people, and even myself, I thought this, that fertilizer was simply chemical based that was used, on large farms, well, fertilizer’s just a term. You can have organic fertilizer and you can have non-organic fertilizer. Some fertilizers that are used on organic farms that might be an easy question to ask your farmer. What kind of fertility are they using to grow the food? Because that’s where the nutrition comes from. That’s where what you’re eating actually is, fertility. Would be earthworm castings, chicken manure, compost. Microrisal, fungi, things like that are growing this food. But if he says he’s just using, triple 13, then you might just wanna move on to the next farm, thank you for your time.
Kelly Engelmann: Right.
Taylor Yowell: And that’s kind of the obstacle we hit as farmers is it seems as if organic farmers are pitted against the other guys, and the other guys are pitted against organic farmers. And it’s kind of true, but we’re also still farmers at the end of the day, and we still have a lot that we can teach each other, but it still is two different modes of thinking, which makes it challenging. So I always recommend easing in, and if the farmer is organic, you’ll find out real quickly. But if they’re not just, be polite and say, we’ll circle back around with you.
Kelly Engelmann: Right. Absolutely.
Taylor Yowell: It’s a fine line. But that’s a great question.
Lori Esarey: Well, the tractor, I have to go back to that question. I would’ve never thought to ask that question, so you gotta expound on that for me. Why would you ask ’em what equipment they use?
Taylor Yowell: Because equipment is, sometimes it can do the farming for you or you can be the farmer that’s, in control. And, I’ve learned in the small farming world, you do have to be trained and you can be trained with a tractor or without a tractor, and both are handy modes of farming. But I’ve learned that when young farmers who might be. Failing or not doing as well, they tend to just want to buy some piece of equipment that is going to, make their farm better, their operation better.
I really think that young farmers need to realize how important it is to be trained to be a farmer, whether even if it’s just one year, working on another farm. And that you are the farmer in that it’s up to you to make the produce grow. Not a tractor or not a lot of fancy equipment, save that money, use that money wisely because you’re gonna need it. And so equipment is a big topic. I feel like you can go in a lot of different directions, and my experience in farming is that most of the time we have been, or my education has been without a tractor. One year it was, and it was great, but I it is just not really the style of farming that we delve into with, how connected we can be to the earth, with hand tools, with always being on the ground and not relying also on the exorbitant amounts of diesel or gasoline that tractors require to operate. And then you become, if you’re using a tractor or a lot of equipment, you quite simply become dependent upon it. When your tractor breaks, you’re like, well, how am I gonna get this done?
And so, it’s just a mentality that we appreciate and that well, we’re gonna get it done, whether the tractor’s there or not. And it does help, efficiency purposes to have what we call a hand tractor. It’s got a small machine, but you operate it with your feet on the ground and your hands. It looks similar to like what you would see your grand dad out in the backyard with is roto tiller, but it’s far more powerful than that, and that’s what we use,
Lori Esarey: you know Taylor, would you go so far to say that, maybe a farmer who is using a lot of equipment maybe as isn’t as in touch with their crops? Is that kind of what you’re saying? And I’m only asking that question cuz I go back to, cause I’m trying to create an understanding for myself. I go back to, in my early years of nursing, when I worked in a very, it was a teaching hospital and I was really taught how to not depend on equipment, but to really use my ability, my skills, my common sense, get in there.
And then I transitioned to a hospital where the nurses used all the equipment and they just, whatever the numbers read on the screen, that’s what they wrote down and there was a real disconnect. So is is that kind of, does that example make sense in your industry?
Taylor Yowell: Yes, it makes a lot of sense. Although it doesn’t need to be, I don’t need to say it in a way that’s offensive, obviously, to people who do use a tractor, but I do need to stay, it’s important when you realize you only have a certain amount of land to use to grow food. That your tractor has to have room to turn around. Sometimes you have to maximize your space to get the highest production, and so we don’t have room or areas necessarily to be able to turn around a tractor, and we don’t want to either. We also plant fruit trees within our vegetable areas. And so it would be very easy to run over a fruit tree or or to smack one or tear a limb off full of fruit or anything like that. So you start to realize that you’re practicing a form of agriculture without all the modern technology that is very similar to how our ancestors operated, but not only our ancestors, but very highly productive, native tribes throughout the world. The Native Americans, they were extremely productive when it came to agriculture. They produced tons of food and they always had a forest, farm model. Where you’re blending perennial agriculture with annual. And so a lot of the problems that we seem to have in our society these days stem from, or at least what they’re pointing toward scientifically, or, or even just basic common sense, is the scale of our agriculture, which is operated with equipment like that.
So there’s a fine line. So. The way I say it is, it’s a good example and I think that it, it plays into a healthy community when you start to shift away from all of those needs and wants of what industrial agriculture makes you think is exactly the only way to do it. So,
Kelly Engelmann: I wanna dig into the soil.
Taylor Yowell: Sure.
Kelly Engelmann: Because, Lori and I treat the gut microbiome. I mean, that’s the foundation of a person’s health.
Taylor Yowell: Yes.
Kelly Engelmann: Is what’s going on in the gut microbiome. The more I think about soil and how alive it is and I think about, what could the average person being be doing at home to improve the soil around where, just where they live.
Taylor Yowell: Sure.
Kelly Engelmann: And I think about composting.
Taylor Yowell: You’re right.
Kelly Engelmann: And so talk a little bit about that. How easy or maybe hard that is to do and, just as a way of inspiring our listeners to, if they can’t grow, they think they need a lot of land to grow.
Taylor Yowell: Yeah. Yeah.
Kelly Engelmann: Fruits and vegetables and we really don’t, number one.
Taylor Yowell: That’s right.
Kelly Engelmann: But number two, if they think they can’t even do that. How does composting play into that whole philosophy of preserving the land and improving the soil?
Taylor Yowell: Sure. That’s great. Very important because, like you said, Kelly, you can do this on a very small scale. You can grow healthy food on a small scale, your own backyard. And it’s even easier if you sometimes are located in an urban area where you can go collect bags of leaves that are on the side of the street that are thrown out for the trash or even pine straw or just small sticks and stems that your neighbors be growing out. Collect those, pile ’em up, let ’em sit in a pile. Maybe go buy a bag of earthworm castings or chicken manure every now and then, every now and then, and just add that bag to that pile and just let it build up and build up. And then after about a year, you will have literally a pile of a black gold that’s a pretty common saying when it comes to compost. And it’s true because, you don’t even have to mix this stuff into the soil, you can just plant something and put this compost around your plant and you’re good to go for some circumstances, especially fruit trees, especially perennial crops, things that come back every single year, the soil is very important. That’s an example of how you can do something very simple and easy to build your own backyard soil. But what most people do not realize is that a lot of our top soil in the United States. Has eroded or is eroding very quickly. Erosion is a big issue in Mississippi, since we are a state of agriculture, we have been for a very long time, a lot of our good top soil that has taken obviously millions of years to build, is gone. I mean, it literally is gone. On my farm, we even we’re on a hill, which is good cuz you want to be, have good drainage, etcetera. But that tops will, because they tiled it and worked it so hard over the years. I’m not even talking about recently, like in, even in the thirties, 1930s and forties, it’s all gone.
And so we have to build our soil or we can’t grow food. And that’s a very important concept for people to understand. Whether you live in a neighborhood on a farm, no matter what is that somehow there’s got to be some initiative or something that you can do to help build soil where you are. And what we do to build soil is compost. That’s very important, although it does take a little while. So we usually have to supplement that first year to bringing stuff in to improve the soil, but start building compost as soon as possible. Also, what is fascinating about soil, like you said, Kelly, that is, where the nutrients come from in your food, that is in your gut, that is in your microbiome.
Kelly Engelmann: So you can take also food scraps, right?
Taylor Yowell: Yes.
Kelly Engelmann: From vegetable,
Taylor Yowell: you’re right.
Kelly Engelmann: Trimmings like onion and things like that, that you’re chopping up anyway, that you would normally throw down the garbage disposal or put in the garbage can, that’s easy to go in the compost.
Taylor Yowell: Yep, that’s exactly right. And that’s coming right out of your kitchen. And also what’s really fun about joining a CSA is that it gives you the option to use more vegetables. So you’re building your compost. That is a value added, very small, but value added. Concept, so really instead of there being an organic revolution, which there has been and currently is, there needs to be a compost revolution, because.
Kelly Engelmann: Right, that’s where it has to start, right? The soil is not there, then we can’t really produce that organic.
Taylor Yowell: You’re right,
Kelly Engelmann: produce, yeah.
Taylor Yowell: And I think that a lot of young farmers like myself, we’ve been in the business for a little while and we’ve learned how hard it is to stay in business. You need to realize a way that you’re creating your own fertility, your own compost, and not just going to buy it because it does get very expensive. And as we’ve all seen within the past year, no matter what kind of fertilizer it is, no matter what country you live in, it is skyrocketing and price. So there, for once within my career, which is not long, but a little bit of time to understand a lot of the way, not only our food system, but the world works, is that we’re in a point in time where it proves how everything is connected, whether it’s politics or war, agriculture, anything. It’s all connectable what’s most important is that we all just keep in mind how valuable healthy food is, and access.
Lori Esarey: Well, I think Kelly, we can be a part of this composted revolution, cause I love that. And I know you’re already doing it, Kelly. And I think that even sharing some of what you do with, your juicing and stuff I mean I find how you just started and what you developed over the course of years is pretty amazing. So you gotta share that.
Kelly Engelmann: Yeah. So I’ve been juicing for many years. Because I was not a vegetable eater and my pallet just did not like vegetables. And I used juicing as a way of training my pallet to like vegetables. And then a few years back I decided, well why am I throwing all of this produce that’s left over and all of the fiber down the drain? Why should, why can’t I be composting? And so I started composting and just replacing the soil in my flower beds, which now I’m growing vegetables in the flower beds. Nice okra, right in the front yard and it’s beautiful, but it’s just doing one thing at a time and it started with juicing now it’s composting, juicing and composting. Just building on those practices that are easy to do. Doesn’t take time, doesn’t take much time or effort. It just takes developing that practice. Something that you do that you feel good about.
Taylor Yowell: You’re right. And I might say about the fun thing about juicing is that the compost that you are using after or added the juicer, breaks down so much quicker and easier. It’s already,
Kelly Engelmann: I was gonna say my compost is ready quickly. It really is because we have trees in our yards, so we do you the use the leaves, from the trees. And then I typically add some bone mill and blood mill. And things like that to the compost. And then with those vegetables, I mean, it breaks down really quick.
Taylor Yowell: Nice.
Kelly Engelmann: And we’re able to put it right into the flower beds. It’s been really fun. The grandkids love it. They love to see the worms and dig around in the compost. It’s been fun.
Taylor Yowell: Awesome. That’s great.
Kelly Engelmann: So I had an experience several years ago where I was going to Orlando quite frequently, and I would stay at a Marriott right next to the airport in Orlando. So busy, busy area. And at this Marriott in the backyard or in the back quarters, they had an organic farm.
Taylor Yowell: Wow.
Kelly Engelmann: They were farming everything right there for their restaurant. And so I would always stay there the night before I was leaving out of Orlando, and it really inspired me. I was like, if they can do this here in the middle of Orlando, I could do this in my yard, like this is not that hard people. And so, don’t think because you don’t have land, so to speak, that you, garden. We also do some aquaponic gardening with, the juice plus towers. So using those to do kale and lettuces are really easy to do in there.
Taylor Yowell: Nice
Kelly Engelmann: and fun too. I mean, just really good produce.
Lori Esarey: At the end of the day, I think what we all know, and it’s something that Kelly and I have been talking about for a long time, and Taylor it sounds like you obviously know this too is that, what we feed our body is so important and choosing farm fresh directly to the plate with minimal cooking. Most people like to cook it a little bit, but with minimal cooking, and just really feeding those good gut bacteria because at the end of the day what we know is our immune system is only as strong as what we feed it and what our waste management system is those two things are extremely important to our overall how, I love some of the things that you mentioned today, and I think some of the things that we can really talk to our consumers about Kelly is, more about joining a C S A and really supporting our local communities, and you said it. It’s important for us to definitely support each other, in our community. So joining a C S A, definitely now I feel really good about this whole composting revolution. I think you guys have convinced me. I toyed with it and then I was like, ah, I don’t really know, but I’m definitely gonna go back circle back to that because we have a responsibility like you said to our land, and to doing something about it. And then, I think we need to ask good questions. Kelly you had said, we have great farmer’s markets around here, and I’m so blessed to say that we do, but I do feel like many of us don’t really know what those questions are to ask when we go to the farmer’s market. And we really do need to get more confident about those questions, to ask those good questions. And you’ve really shed some light on that today. So I really appreciate. So far but what you have shared with us, thank you so much.
Taylor Yowell: You’re welcome.
Kelly Engelmann: Tay, we really appreciate you taking the time to be here with us today. Our mission truly is to educate the public.
Taylor Yowell: Sure.
Kelly Engelmann: And empower them to do whatever their next step is, and food is such a big part of that. Not only thank you for what you bring to the community, but thank you for being here today.
Taylor Yowell: You’re welcome. Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it.
Kelly Engelmann: Can you take a minute and tell us how number one, they can find you. We’ve mentioned The Garden Farmacy, which I just love, but you need to spell it for people
Taylor Yowell: I know.
Kelly Engelmann: Cause it’s a little, unusual.
Taylor Yowell: It is. Sure. Yes. The name of our farm is The Garden Farmacy. T H E garden, G A R D E N and then usually we’re, I catch people as pharmacy. We do not spell it in the traditional way, but we spell it F A R M A C Y. Farm sea. In other words, showing that,
Kelly Engelmann: food is medicine.
Taylor Yowell: Food is medicine, exactly.
Lori Esarey: Absolutely.
Taylor Yowell: And we do have a website, The Garden Farmacy.online. We are on Instagram at The Garden Farmacy, we are on Facebook, The Garden Farmacy. And you can definitely get in touch with us very easily through either one of those outlets.
Kelly Engelmann: And you typically have a spring and a fall CSA
Taylor Yowell: yes.
Kelly Engelmann: That you can go online and, Put in a request for. I know it fills up every year, so if that’s something that you want to do, I would encourage you to do that sooner than later. But again, we just appreciate you.
Taylor Yowell: Yeah, thank you. Thank you. It’s been fun.
Kelly Engelmann: Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. You can find more information about Synergee at Synergee for Life. That’s S Y N E R G E E, the number four live.com. And then Synergee Connect is our Facebook. And then please make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so that you make sure you get future notifications of episodes.
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