I’ve traveled all over the United States and internationally, and the thing that’s unique about growing in Goshen is how supportive the community is of small farmers.
We’re a tiny farm, but we’re full-time farmers. We’re able to sell virtually all of our food within a mile and a half of our farm. When I tell people this in other places, their jaws drop. Their first reaction is, ‘Where do you live?” They just can’t believe that it’s possible.
We’re not considered a foodie region in northern Indiana — we’re not a San Francisco here or a Madison, Wisconsin — and yet there’s just this really strong base of support that cuts across cultures and across political differences, too.
Farming is a feel-good profession. Every week we deliver food to people who are so grateful for it and appreciate it. It’s a product that goes to good use and makes people feel good.
And I like that there’s always room for improvement. To give a specific example, we’re putting up another greenhouse that’s more suited to heirloom tomatoes. It’s an endlessly fascinating career choice. There’s always something new to grow and a different approach to take that I can’t envision being bored! We put in six fig trees. That should keep us busy for the next ten years.
And we have two children ourselves, 5 and 7, and we work with Teen Growers [an outreach of Church Community Services] in Elkhart, so, in the long term, we have a vision of another generation taking this over someday.
– Ben Hartman, co-owner, Clay Bottom Farm
This summer, we're taking a look at some of the small farms and urban gardens you'll only find in Goshen! More stories to come through September.
Written and edited by Wendy Wilson
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