Today's Featured Farmer is Meagan of Novelties and Trinkets.
Welcome, Meagan, and thanks for joining us!
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
My husband and I and his family grow tobacco and own a cut flowers and greenhouse business in our hometown in Western Kentucky where we sell floral arrangements and potted plants. The tobacco is our main source of income that we use to fund our greenhouse, cut flowers and florist dreams.
I sell my flowers by the stem, in arrangements and through teaching floral workshops.
My husband has grown up around agriculture. He grew up raising tobacco, helping his dad here and there with their small dairy and helping raise and sell homegrown vegetables at farmers markets. This is where his passion for owning a business and farming stem from.
Both my husband and I are students at Murray State University. My husband will graduate this May with a degree in Agronomy. I will graduate in 2017 with my degree in Middle School English Education. We will both pursue our masters degrees in the years to come- mine in literature and his in biblical counseling. We have loved our season as students, but it has been incredibly difficult to tackle entrepreneurship and degrees at the same time.
We hope to expand our greenhouse business in the future and to continue raising tobacco to help provide for this endeavor.
2. How did you get started in agriculture?
I got started when I met my husband.
When we were dating I would go out to his family farm to help in anyway I could. At first, I felt awkward.
When I first started helping, I had never even seen a tobacco plant before. I was bonding with my boyfriend's family (which, let's be honest, is always awkward) all while learning to drive a tractor and how to understand the lingo of a farmer. The first time I rode a tractor I had no idea what I was doing. Travis's dad is a strong and gruff man, so when he was trying to explain how to press the clutch to a soft spoken city girl, there was a lot of confusion on both sides.
They were very sweet about my awkwardness and never made me feel unwelcome, but the overall tasks of farming were SO foreign to me and required a LOT of explanation and patience from everyone involved. Overall, though, I left wanting to come back!
My interest in floral design stemmed from my overall creative side. I really love making things with my hands. I had taken a floral design class in high school just to fill in space my senior year, and little did I know I would end up using that information for make money a couple years later.
I was scrolling through Pinterest and found a few bouquet pictures of bouquets wrapped in Kraft paper and fell in love. I thought, "I can totally grow those." Then, I pitched the idea to Travis, my husband, and he was all for it. Once we married, Travis gifted me with the greenhouse business. It was something I never thought I would love, but once we started I knew I never wanted to stop.
3. What is your favorite part of your farming lifestyle?
I adore being outside. I love the fresh air and I love sweating during the hot, summer days. The conversations that stem from being outside with family are truly gifts.
4. What have you struggled with?
Our location for our greenhouse has been our biggest struggle. We are 15 minutes from our town and we have found that most people are not willing to drive that far for flowers. It's disheartening because, at the moment, moving locations is just not an option. We have found ways around this through local farmers markets and using Facebook to advertise our delivery service.
5. What has been the most surprising thing about incorporating this into your life?
The slow winters really surprised me. I went into our marriage thinking we would always be busy. I am thankful for time off in the winter when we can spend time at home and with friends on a more regular basis.
6. How has being involved in agriculture affected your faith?
It has affected it in a big way. I feel as though cultivating life, in this case plant life, is a huge metaphor for how God cares for and grows us on a daily basis. Plus, being around nature and seeing it grow and change daily really connected me to the living God who is making my flowers grow. It displays God's power in a mighty way and, as farmers, we are lucky enough to see it happen first hand, every single day.
7. What advice would you give a complete newbie (you know, like me)?
Modern technologies like social media and Internet advertising are a perfect fit for farming.
No matter how traditional the farming practice is (I'm pretty sure tobacco practices haven't changed much since the market started in the 1700s), people want to know what a farming lifestyle looks like, they're intrigued, so use that as a way to gain customers and followers of your farm.
Also, know the history of what you're doing. It will help you gain an awe and connection with those who came before you. Even if the people of the past are not your blood relatives, as a new farmer, you are entering into a beautiful heritage that was the foundation of our nation for hundreds of years. Embrace the history of your practice!
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Meagan grew up in a subdivision- the stereotypical "city girl". Meagan never thought she could be a "farmer's wife," and yet, here she is- married into a tobacco farming family in Western Kentucky! God had a better plan than her own and created a life of farming that she couldn't imagine living without. Meagan writes at Novelties and Trinkets, and you can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.
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