Now Anyone Can Be a FarmerOct 31, 2023 10:47AM ● By Martin Miron
The Patio Farmer, in Charlotte, teaches people how to grow food at home in whatever space they have. Owner and farmer Erin Hostetler, who holds a Master of Arts degree in Global Ethics and Human Values, says, “This is how I got started thinking about the food system, where our food comes from and the ethics of food production (and climate change… ha!)”
The entrepreneur explains, “Many people think that growing food is a seasonal task, but here in the southeastern U.S. we are blessed with the opportunity to grow food all year round. I work with the understanding that once you have your growing space set up, it can produce food for you all year. There is always something to be planting, sowing, harvesting, and nourishing our bodies!”
She says, “I learned how to grow food by working on sustainable, organic, production farms. There’s a deep learning that comes from working on farms, the connection to land, and understanding how food is produced from seed to sale. I bring my farming background and knowledge to my clients, adapting the information for their unique spaces to provide coaching that’s tailored to them.”
Hostetler started The Patio Farmer in July 2017 at the first annual Homegrown Tomato Festival, a fundraiser for the Charlotte-based nonprofit 100 Gardens. The Executive Director Sam Fleming asked her to teach classes at his new urban farming supply store in NoDa. “All of our patio farming workshops sold out, and Sam asked me what I was going to do with the idea. I sketched out an initial set of services, built a small client portfolio with friends and debuted my business as a side hustle! In 2020, The Patio Farmer soared. I was able to transition from my day job and run the business full time—a dream come true!” she exclaims.
Her business provides in-person, one-on-one coaching services, including consultations, installations, and maintenance, such as written plans, service visits and out-of-town visits. She also creates digital content, sharing daily Instagram posts and information, a weekly newsletter, The Queen City Almanac, and more recently, podcasting. Hostetler explains, “I share a new episode of the Growing Space podcast every Tuesday through YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartMusic and the PodBean app. I teach classes seasonally through [Charlotte-based] SkillPop and work with five local businesses/communities maintaining growing spaces like community gardens, edible landscaping, and container gardens for them.”
Plant Club by The Patio Farmer is a monthly subscription service. There are four levels to join, starting at $14/month. Each month, members can learn how to grow something new from start to finish, sow a new seed (even in winter), learn a new skill, and deepen their understanding of how food grows. In November, Plant Club GROW members are growing Certified Organic sage, and will receive a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness essentials book, How to Eat. In December, they will be growing shiitake mushrooms at home.
Plant Club members receive access to a resource library via an online community at Circle, with new information shared monthly. In November, members will receive a digital download on seed saving and the impacts of frost on home harvests. In December, they will receive downloads to guide seasonal reflections and gratitude, as well as learn about the magical detritivores in our growing spaces. Members also have access to SOW seeds, or a packet of seasonally appropriate seeds, plus a digital instruction card for knowing how to sow, tend, manage, and harvest each crop.
For more information, call 704-877-6230 or visit ThePatioFarmer.com.
Erin Hostetler says, “2024 is going to be full of new and exciting offerings… if you love plants and want to grow food at home, you will 100 percent want to keep in touch with what I’m working on for next year. The best way to stay up to date on all things from me, The Patio Farmer is to subscribe to my weekly newsletter at ThePatioFarmer.com/newsletter. Use the promo code “AWAKENING” when you join Plant Club in November to take 50 percent off your first month’s membership.” Learn more about Plant Club at ThePatioFarmer.com/membership. Join Plant Club SOW at tinyurl.com/plantclubSOW. Join Plant Club GROW at tinyurl.com/plantclubGROW.
The Patio Farmer provides Consultations, Installation assistance and custom Maintenance Plans to help YOU grow food at home, no matter what kind of space you have! Farmer Erin tailors her... Read More »