It's hard to believe that just one year ago, I was sitting in a small business class in downtown Grand Rapids, trying desperately to not FREAK OUT. The voices in my head were not kind...
"Who do you think you are? You can't start a business! You have no idea what you are doing!"
I'm so grateful for my incredible support group of friends and family who helped me silence those voices... especially my husband who told me "I believe in you". (Those words are POWERFUL, friend. Who can you speak those words to today? Do it. You might just change their life).
One year later, here I am. I still don't know exactly what I'm doing. I still make about a bazillion mistakes every day. I still keep wondering if what I'm doing is making a difference...
....But then! I think back over the year and what sticks out is all the AMAZING connections and new friendships I've made because of this farm.
Maybe this farm IS making a difference.
Maybe you came to our farm this summer and met some awesome people at the Farm Stand or U-Pick Garden. I bet you did. This farm seems to be a magnet for awesome people. ;)
Maybe you live far away and will never be able to visit the farm in person, but you've loved watching our journey and chatting over email (yes! I respond to every email... or at least try my best. If I forgot, email me again!) or Facebook or Instagram.
Maybe you just found out about our farm and haven't had a chance to meet us yet. I can't wait to connect with you.
There is something special about this place that I can't quite put into words. I've had some of the most influential and meaningful discussions of my life on this farm, sometimes with complete strangers. There is something about this farm that causes people to bloom and come to life... to grow in their understanding and kindness.
It's moments like these that keep me going. Friends, farming is physically, emotionally and mentally draining. There is NO WAY I could continue to do this work without your kind words, your unfailing support and timely encouragement.
YOU give me energy.
YOU give me deep joy.
YOU give me purpose and passion for my work.
Behind the Scenes
So many people have asked me recently: "What do you do in the winter?"
It's a valid question! Here is what I do, in no particular order:
1. Breathe. Farming is a whirlwind from March until November. The winter months are time to catch my breath and slow down a bit.
2. Catch up on all the household work that has been neglected since March. That takes me pretty much the whole month of December. :)
3. Read, read, READ! My book stack is starting to teeter... here are just a few.
4. Work on my Continuing Education. I take classes on farming, growing, marketing, entrepreneurship and more. Currently, I'm enrolled in the Floret Online Workshop, which is an intensive course for flower growers, and I'm taking a few classes at my local Small Business Development Center (GROW - Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women)
5. Plan, plan, PLAN!!!! Farming requires massive amounts of intensive planning. The logistics make my brain hurt. I spend weeks in my office planning out the year to come. SO. MANY. SPREADSHEETS. I know that many people think I skip around the garden sprinkling seeds and fairy dust and the plants magically grow... but they don't. HA! Sorry to burst your bubble! :)
6. Start seeds. I begin planting seeds indoors in February and will continue starting seeds weekly until the end of June. See all those seed packets? Each seed will be planted, by hand. Thousands upon thousands of seeds. These are just the flower seeds. There is a whole bin of veggie seeds in the basement... and I have more on the way! Somebody stop me!!!
Plans for 2018
I've been holed up in my office the last few weeks. The dreams and plans have been swirling around in my head, and I'm slowly extracting ideas and turning them into reality.
Here are a few of the ideas swirling around:
- Occasional evening U-Pick hours to cater to moms (and dads!) who need a little restoration and refreshment... or a place to meet up with their friends for a fun evening of picking and arranging flowers. Girl's Night Out! Or Date Night! Doesn't that sound great?
- A U-Pick Punch Card Program for my regular customers that can't live without their weekly flower fix. Life is so much better with flowers, isn't it?!
- A Farm Open House/Pot-Luck Night. Turns out lots of our customers are pretty amazing people.. and I think they would like hanging out with our other amazing customers. :) Plus, I just love me a good Pot-Luck! What do you think?!?
- Stocking the Farm Stand with Three Acre Farm greeting cards to accompany your bouquets.
- A Bouquet Subscription Program, similar to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model where payment is made ahead of time and you pick up your bouquet on the farm weekly. This Program would make a great Mother's Day gift! Know what's better than a bouquet of flowers? 8 bouquets spread out over the summer - it's the gift that keeps on giving!
There are more ideas... they just haven't been extracted yet :) And please don't hold me all the ideas I listed above. I might be getting a little over ambitious!
I'll be sending out an email survey in the next few weeks to help me make some important decisions. Your input is incredibly valuable.
If you are not a subscriber to our email list, would you consider signing up so I can send you a survey? Just click on the button below and follow the directions. You'll also receive my guide "5 Secrets to Intentional Living" as free gift. It's a great way for us to keep in contact!
My mission is to make this world and your life a little bit brighter and more beautiful, but I need to your help to figure out how to do it!
Thanks for making 2017 one of the best years of my life... and for filling me with hope and optimism for 2018! Cheers!