You are here: Home About Us Meet Our Members From Farm Manager to App Creator: Meet the Farmer Doing it All

From Farm Manager to App Creator: Meet the Farmer Doing it All

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Jul 26, 2017 07:55 AM |
Filed under:
One of the many joys of working for PASA is getting the chance to personally connect with our farmer members. There is such diversity among our farmers that I never know with whom I’ll be speaking from one day to the next. When we recently launched the PASA Organization and Individual Profiles, it gave me yet another chance to learn, in depth, about some of the members who make our organization great. One of the first farmers to complete the Organization Profile was Alex Smith, who as farm manager at Living Hope Farm and developer of the farm app BeetClock, actually filled out two profiles. I was lucky enough to speak with him...
From Farm Manager to App Creator: Meet the Farmer Doing it All

Alex Smith shows off produce at Living Hope Farm

One of the many joys of working for PASA is getting the chance to personally connect with our farmer members. There is such diversity among our farmers that I never know with whom I’ll be speaking from one day to the next. When we recently launched the PASA Organization and Individual Profiles, it gave me yet another chance to learn, in depth, about some of the members who make our organization great. One of the first farmers to complete the Organization Profile was Alex Smith, who as farm manager at Living Hope Farm and developer of the farm app BeetClock, actually filled out two profiles. I was lucky enough to speak with him one evening last week and was completely fascinated as he completed the profile with me over the phone.

 

Alex wears many hats, but at this time of the year, being Farm Manager for Living Hope Farm occupies most of his time. Living Hope Farm is a very diversified non-profit vegetable farm offering both  summer and winter CSA shares with a unique model: members get a certain number of points that are used to shop on Living Hope’s website for the veggies that most interest them that week. Produce is donated to local food pantries and a percentage of their CSA shares go to those in need in the community.

 

That’s a lot of happiness in the community coming from 8 acres of production. Even the rows between crops are useful- Alex works with Field Manager Steve Freed to make sure that every inch of available space is covered in beneficial plants- cover crops- that help improve the soils and keep nutrients and water in the ground. While that’s enough to keep any farmer busy, Alex also plays a major role in the educational and outreach components of the farm. Alex teaches classes for farm interns, educational classes for those in the community, and hosts groups of visitors who want to learn about the farm or volunteer. Living Hope Farm will be hosting a PASA event about season extension strategies on October 11, 2017, so mark your calendar!

 

LivingHopeFarm StrawberriesAlex heeded the call to work with his hands in more ways than one; he’s also the creator of BeetClock, a simple yet powerful labor-tracking app for farmers and gardeners. As Alex says, “Those intuitions [about which crops are profitable] develop over many years and aren’t always correct.” Alex gave a powerful example about strawberry production at Living Hope Farm. Sure, people love fresh strawberries, but the plants are expensive and they’re extremely labor intensive. With all that cost, Alex doubted whether the strawberries were really worthwhile. With BeetClock’s time tracking, Alex realized that the berries indeed provided a good profit margin. In fact, Living Hope Farm increased strawberry production the next year.

BeetClock


I might have never had the chance to speak with Alex Smith about his work at Living Hope Farm or with BeetClock had he not been so willing to complete the PASA Organization Profile. When I asked Alex why he completed the profile he said, “Anecdotal and word-of-mouth stories can be helpful, but big data sets can really help you get a sense of what might be an actual trend and not just the odd occurrence on my farm. The potential to get people sharing information has such broad potential. Also, I used to be a scientist, so I’m kind of addicted to data.”

 

PASA boasts many hard-working farmers doing incredible things. We’re lucky to count Alex Smith at Living Hope Farm among them. Thank you to all of our farmers for producing healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.

-Christina Kostelecky

 

Hungry for more about Living Hope Farm? Click here to learn about their organic, certified naturally grown summer & winter CSA shares, sign up for their newsletter to receive recipes and more, or read about the mission of their organization.

Want BeetClock for yourself? Visit the Apple App Store or Android Google Play to download the app and start tracking today.

Perk up when you heard the word “data”? Complete your very own PASA Organization Profile or PASA Individual Profile and be entered into a monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the place of your choosing.

Document Actions
Filed under:

Tool Shed

Buy Fresh Buy Local SOIL toolshed image