Growing Vegetables and Growing Yourself with farmer Chris Gilbert (FSFS88)

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“Farming is as much about growing yourself as it is about growing vegetables.”

One of the big lessons shared in this episode with farmer Chris Gilbert from Bettendorf, Iowa.

Welcome to the world of Farming Small and Farming Smart.

Today I’m going to be talking to another small-scale farming making a go of it as we go to Bettendorf, Iowa to talk to farmer Chris Gilbert of Gilbert’s Grapes Farm.

Chris’s story is one that many share – going from hobby gardener to production farmer. It’s a journey that’s had its up and its downs.

As Chris describes it:

“When I first started gardening, it was to supplement the lack of income my family had. It also had been something I had never tried before. I simply started gardening for myself and my family, but ended up producing much more than our family could use from a small 4 X 20 ft. garden.

A lot of cards fell into place in the fall of 2013 and we were able to buy our first home that had an acre of land just outside the hustle and bustle of the city. I had thought of starting a small roadside stand, or selling in the parking lot of several locally owned businesses in the past, but decided I would try to get into a large farmer’s market in the area.

Expectations – I had none. I had blind passion. I really wanted to do something on my own and had started several other business ventures such as graphic design, a t-shirt company, and being a musician.

I came into farming naively and childishly almost, and I think that is important. It seems idealism gets rooted in our thoughts and goals, and sometimes ideal goals may not be realistic goals. I think goals are important, but I think it is important not to beat yourself up if you find some challenges along the way and are not able to reach your goal. Every year is a new learning experience and provides new inspiration and knowledge of how to refine your farm and farming plans the next year.”

Chris may have stated out naive, but he’s no longer naive learning from the school of hard knocks. He’s grown the farm over the last few years taking it from a small plot to now farming 1/4 of an acre. And he’s grown as a person having to manage the farm while being a father to a growing family and dealing with the challenges that come with it.

It has been a journey where Chris has grown, just as much as some of his vegetables.

Here is the story of farmer Chris Gilbert.

Connect with Chris:
Chris Gilbert on Instagram

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