Episode 61: Stephen Mackell


by Rodney Wilson

Ohio farmer Stephen Mackell talks with podcast host Lisa Munniksma about microgreens, actually sustainable (profitable!) small-scale farming and food access.

Hear about how Stephen found his passion for farming through the magic of starting seeds. Learn about the Mission of Mary Cooperative Farm in Dayton, Ohio, where Stephen started out as a volunteer farm manager and went on to build their community programs for nine years. Stephen explains how the farm came to financially sustain itself with a two-tier CSA being grown on six empty housing lots and eight homemade caterpillar tunnels and greenhouses. He also talks about other food-access programs, including an after-school program that eventually led to food production for the school salad bar and a program to help 100 neighbors start their own gardens.

Get to know Stephen’s 1/2-acre Greentable Gardens in Xenia, Ohio, where he and one part-time employee serve a 90-member microgreens, salad and full-vegetable CSA. Learn how Stephen got his garden beds established from lawn to permanent raised beds, including the installation of drainage tiles. Stephen talks about his farming and business efficiencies—hint: microgreens are a year-round, stable source of income—and his farm’s niche as a USDA Certified Organic home-delivery CSA. Get Stephen’s advice for growing microgreens yourself, too.

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Hear about how Stephen, as a college student, was inspired to start a curbside-collection compost subscription company, which he then sold. It’s still in business today!


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