Growing Good Podcast #72: Small Farm with Sara Martin

Appalachian Farmer Sara Martin Shares Her Farming Experiences

by Allison Lemons
PHOTO: Courtesy Sara Martin

Keeping a small farm at high elevations, farm diversity and redistributing unsold produce are all topics discussed with Appalachian farmer Sara Martin in this Growing Good podcast.

Small Farming By Accident

Hear about how Sara and her husband, Dustin Cornelison, became “accidental farmers,” as their homesteading endeavor just kept growing. Sara talks about how their Two Trees Farm and Sustainabillies business support their small farm efforts and their community. With three-quarters of an acre in production, they’ve learned to grow and garden vertically and construct multi-use structures to make the most of their small farm. Sara explains how her background in ecology, rather than agriculture, has shaped her farming experience. Learn about the ecological growing efforts they use to make this challenging property into a productive piece of land.

Farm Tasks Keep Them Busy

Sara says when people ask them what they do at Sustainabillies, their first reaction is, “Putting out fires.” From gardening such as growing plant starts and diverse vegetable production to using the plentiful shady areas on their small farm for growing mushrooms and teaching classes, plus 70+ pastured laying hens, growing 70 percent of their own food and keeping a blacksmith shop, there’s no shortage of work to be done at Two Trees Farm. Learn about their wasabi-growing experiment and the mobile greenhouse that Dustin built on the back of their pickup truck. Let Sara take you back to science class as she reminds us about how to use the scientific method to make informed decisions on the farm.

Community & Sustainability

Also get to know the community work that Sara does, including with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and the local Cooperative Extension advisory board. Sara and Dustin manage Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market and have worked with their team to secure grants to pay farmers for their unsold produce and redistribute it to hunger relief organizations. “There’s no such thing as a bad day at our farmers market anymore for our vendors,” Sara says.

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This Growing Good podcast about a sustainable small farm at high elevations with Sara Martin at Sustainabillies was recorded for Hobby Farms online. Click here to subscribe to Hobby Farms magazine.

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