One of my favorite things about running Ekologicall is getting the chance to work with amazing brands and small businesses; I meet so many great people who are committed to make a positive impact by offering products and/or services that contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Today I want to introduce you to my friend, Erin Hostetler. She is the FarmHer behind The Patio Farmer, a local small business, empowering green thumbs in Charlotte and surrounding areas with small area farms.
Q) Erin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Erin: Sure thing! I’m a Charlotte-native. I grew up in South Charlotte and now live in northwest Charlotte (near Latta Plantation) where my partner and I have a 1.6 acre homestead. We grow food in raised beds, pots, containers and a hobby greenhouse! We also have a backyard chicken flock, three goats and are in the process of getting two beehives! I have degrees from Appalachian State University and King’s College London. As a life-long learning, I’m always dabbling in new projects or hobbies. Recently, we’ve taken on a saltwater aquarium… a feit!
Q) What inspired you to start The Patio Farmer?
Erin: More like “who” inspired me… my last full-time farm gig was managing the urban farm at Garinger High School, when it was managed by Friendship Trays (local meals on wheels organization). While managing the farm, I befriend the ED of 100 Gardens (www.100gardens.org), Sam Fleming. In 2017, Sam opened an urban farm supply store in NoDa called Seeds on 36th. He asked me if I wanted to teach some classes and I said sure! I came up with some topics and we settled on container gardening, Sam even said, “we could call it patio farming!” After two sold out classes, he asked me if I thought about taking this “brand” further. I thought about it, and well, The Patio Farmer debuted on July 27, 2017 at the First Annual Homegrown Tomato Festival (100 Garden’s annual fundraiser). I’m part of the event every year to celebrate my “business birthday”
Q) Tell us about The Patio Farmer’s mission and the products / services you offer.
Erin: The goal of The Patio Farmer is to meet people where they are in their food growing journeys. I offer an array of services that can be customized and tailored to meet the needs of my clients. My primary services are Consultations, Installations and Maintenance Plans. In 2020, I started keeping an inventory of products, offering a weekly delivery route and started a monthly subscription service called Plant Club (Ekologicall is a Plant Club partner and Valerie shares zero-waste tidbits with the group each month!).
Q) What do you like most about your small business?
Erin: My two favorite things about The Patio Farmer are working with people and working with plants :) the best thing in the world is watching a seed sprout or a plant grow. Vegetables and herbs grow SO fast. It is such an empowering process! I love watching other people “catch the bug” for growing food. Then, there are plants. Lovely green, leafy babes that bring so much joy and grounding to our lives. I love plant energy - it soothes and calms and invigorates! I love watching plants grow, sharing space with them, and yes, eating them.
Q) How do you try to prevent or reduce waste?
Erin: I’m very conscientious about waste, and especially food waste. In all parts of life, I try not to consume more than I need. I’m a meticulous shopper, waiting until I’m completely out of something before buying anything similar to it. Like bread, I never have more than one type of bread in the house at a time, ha! We also recycle everything and we are committed to composting! I have two large composting systems at home that get “fed” regularly. Composting and growing food go hand in hand. Return to the earth what you do not use, to feed you again! The goats and chickens also love to help us with using up bits of “waste” too!
Q) Are there any new exciting products or projects you’re working on right now?
Erin: I’ve got a few things up my sleeve for Mother’s Day this year! And… of course I am absolutely in love with Plant Club right now! It is just too fun. If you’re looking to take your growing knowledge to the next level or maybe just try something new and fun, consider joining the Club! It’s $65 / month and you get a Grow Kit delivered each month, plus weekly newsletters, guest content, access to a private Facebook group and a virtual plant chat each month with other members. In May, we’re growing potatoes in burlap! Read more and sign up here, www.thepatiofarmer.com/plantclub
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Be sure to check out The Patio Farmer to learn more. The Patio Farmer is a partner of Ekologicall and offers you 50% of your first consultation !