Can we elevate the status of the local, organic farmer to rock star? Please? Eco-Farms Earth First farmer, Kevin Nash, shared the complexity of his labor-intensive dedication to providing the community with absolutely fresh, organic produce, and for his single-minded and single-handed efforts, he deserves recognition.
Kevin’s interests and agricultural education led him to the decision to try growing food for a living. Financial constraints motivated his innovative approach to secure workable land. Kevin operates on private, urban properties to grow seasonal produce. He’s a one-man business: cultivating, planting, harvesting and marketing all his crops. His work is specific, scientific, elaborate, and laborious.
“I have a grow room in my basement, and started planting onions, kale, and Swiss chard in January and February,” Kevin says. As time progresses, he moves his starter plants to a greenhouse. Next, he starts tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. “At the end of February or March, I transplant the onions.”
Transplants must have a welcoming home, so to prepare the soil, Kevin tills the wintered-over soil with a manual broadfork tiller, a centuries-old hand tool. Tilling allows oxygen to get to the soil. “I feed the soil with beneficial bacteria, fungus, and organic matter; then I tamp down the soil and lay down the drip tape,” he explains. The drip tape allows more controlled, efficient irrigation.
Kevin has developed a seed sowing routine that mitigates thinning, yet still allows him to have, for example, an early harvest of carrots. “But I’m pretty much harvesting all year,” he says. “I’m still harvesting spinach I planted last October.”
At the height of the season, Kevin is collecting 100 pounds of onions every week, and checking zucchini every day. He sells his tomatoes at the farmers market not less than two days off the vine. He trims greens for sale, either before sunrise or after sunset.
Harvested produce kept fresh in a walk-in cooler are “tetris-loaded” in bins into his Jeep. Wake-up time for market days is 4:00 am.
Kevin manages this work by himself. What continuously motivates him is that he loves being in nature and working the soil, and that farming provides him the outlet to counteract what he feels is an ongoing problem with conventional, corporate agriculture.
Kevin is a rock star.