My Farmer, My Customer: Building Business & Community Through Farming Healthy Food
This book belongs in the hands of anyone who eats and wants to understand what it takes to produce healthy food. Through new ideas and a different perspective, Marty shares a winning formula for success in modern family farming.
Written by the co-owner of the Spence Farm featured in the documentary, "Sustainable," this book provides the reader with the necessary steps an owner-operator must take to set up their family farm for long-term success. It’s a must read for anyone who is passionate about healthy food and healthy farms, from chefs to home cooks to the commercial grower.
Marty, a seasoned farmer, writes each chapter like a neighbor giving trusted advice, including honest details about what worked and what failed — more reasons this book is so special.
Readable in one sitting, but with enough details to give you years of goals to accomplish, this information will teach you how to avoid the strategic pitfalls many farmers face today, how to make a profit, and how to position yourself for low-risk, high-yield seasons. Every chapter includes essential information based on the author’s personal experience to help you make money with farming, whether you are just starting, transitioning to a new business model, or just wanting to buck the conventional approach to agriculture.
Marty includes conversational chapters about:
- Where to begin
- Rules of nature
- Soil & plant health
- How to walk the field
- Marketplace creation
- Cooperative marketing
- Working with family
- Being an efficient businessperson
- Planning & scheduling
- Hiring & managing labor
- Equipment purchasing
- Livestock & beekeeping
- And more!
#7572 • Copyright 2020 • 176 pages • Softcover
An interview with Marty Travis on Tractor Time:
This is a great book—authentic, inspirational, practical. Whether you are an aspiring farmer (or even one that knows the ropes), a chef, a restaurateur, a food-service provider or just someone with an appetite and curiosity for understanding how to be a part of the good food system, you’ll find richness in these candid, personal pages from one of the most visionary farmers I know.”
Chef-Owner of Chicago’s Frontera Grill and host of Public Television’s “Mexico: One Plate at a Time”.
In 2016, Marty changed my life by inviting me into his world and showing me a different way of farming. “Sustainability” is pivotal for not just chefs like myself, but for the human race. We must continue to educate people and young farmers about the importance of sustainability. Marty’s way of farming will really change the world.
Executive Chef / Owner
BRQ Restaurant / Bacon & Fig Events
Marty Travis is so full of knowledge about sustainable farming, but more importantly to me is that he has a pure love of the craft that farming truly is. He takes care and pride in every step with respect for the land and what it can give us. I have been fortunate over the years to get to learn from Marty in a hands-on way at Spence Farm. It’s been an experience he and his family have been kind enough to share with so many chefs, to help open our eyes to another side of the food system.
Marty is amazing for his inspiration and guidance to now be shared with even more of the world.
Executive Chef/Owner Girl and the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat, James Beard Award Winner, 2013
Marty Travis is my favorite person in this crazy industry we exist in, and I am a better chef for knowing him.
Chef, Hopleaf Restaurant
Marty and his family truly live the term, “farm to table”. When I was first introduced to the Travis, it was their American Guinea hogs that caught my eye, as they were something I had never worked with before. The insanely marbled flesh reminded me of something similar to Kobe or Wagyu beef with a buttery texture and an aged nutty flavor. I was hooked …
The introduction of a new breed of pig was just the beginning of what would begin a long and exciting relationship of weekly visits to our hotel, bringing produce that was not only the freshest of the season’s peak, but had a story and a name (usually several family members names) of the farm it came from. The introduction of true local products flooded our hotel, which provided sustainable products year-round, ranging from eggs and milled corn for our breakfast service, to half sides of beef we would grind for our house burgers, and tomatoes and peppers we would cook down for a years supply of hot sauce. Marty and his co-op of farmers offered so much knowledge and passion about their cultivated crops, it was hard not to become protective of the products and their uses. Over the years, I have been fortunate to see the list of farmers and ingredients grow week over week anticipating his Friday email listing all that was available and eagerly submitting my request hoping that I wasn’t too late to secure my cases of fresh treasures that would undoubtedly sell out if I waited too long.
The mantra at the hotel became, “We believe you should know where your food comes from, who grew it and what is in it,” which is printed on each seasons menu and still holds true to this day.
Executive Chef, Omni Hotels
This engaging and informative book is not only an indispensable toolkit for the farmer or chef seeking a template for building a sustainable food system through innovation, inclusion and creative thinking, it’s also for anyone interested in delving into a deeply personal story packed with practical advice about how one small family farm transformed struggle into triumph. They did it by creating a dynamic network of passionate individuals who work together in the spirit of collaboration, guided by the belief that if we support one another, the small can become a mighty, invincible force for good.
Author of the upcoming “Elysian Kitchens: Recipes and Stories From Monasteries, Mosques, Temples and Synagogues Around the World”, published by W.W. Norton in 2020 and “The Chaat Express”, published by Clarkson Potter in 2020.
Great Book. My wife and I have been members of Stewards of the Land for 13 years and are personal friends of Marty, Kris and Will. Marty and family are some of the nicest, most real people that we have met and their heart really comes through in this book.
I enjoyed this book very much. I'm very proud to say that the author is my son!
Excellent from the voice of experience!
This is a book for everyone who believes that we are what we eat. A great guide for farmers (large and small) who want a more sustainable approach. Critical info for consumers and home cooks to understand the vast interactions of seed, soil, water, light, and what eventually comes to table to truly nourish our bodies. All of this wrapped in highly readable prose. A masterpiece, a roadmap for a better future!