A Farmer, His 'Tribe' And The Web That Brings Them Together

From NPR
By Krishnadev Calamur

In my moments of grandeur, I wish I had my own farm where I could connect with Mother Nature. I suspect many people feel the same way, but few have the courage to do it.

Two people who did are Tim and Liz Young, who run Nature's Harmony , a pasture-based, local-market sustainable farm, in Georgia.

After reading about them in The New York Times, I wondered how a farm in rural Georgia connects with a customer base. Sure, Michael Pollan has made farmers markets and community-supported agriculture popular, but what does a business -- and a farm is a business, after all -- do to keep it customers coming back.

So I e-mailed (old-fashioned, I know) Tim Young and asked him.

"While farm life is thought of as rural, remote and antiquated, technology makes it easy to reach out and connect with like-minded people," Young replied.

He says social media makes it easy for people to find their "tribes."

He says his "tribe" comprises people interested in safe, local food. The farm uses blogging extensively to reach out to the group.

"Doing so allows customers, other farmers and interested parties to comment, criticize, question and share their own experiences in ways that stimulate conversation, learning and passion," Young writes.

He says the farm's blog draws more than 12,000 unique visitors per month and helps them not only build a following of products, but also the Youngs' beliefs and values.

They may be using sustainable methods to farm, but old-fashioned they are not.

"The agricultural scene is a changing," Young writes, "as I have spent many a day on my tractor, iPhone in hand, responding to emails or blog comments."

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