Urban Farming Continues to Grow

The rise in urban farming continues to create opportunity for many across the nation and specifically in our state, and we all get to reap the harvest. I’m talking to Carolyn Rose-Seed. She is the president of the South Durham Farmers Market and owner of Mama Springs Farm in Durham. Can you tell us about the farm?

Yeah, absolutely. I first have to preface it by saying I grew up on a tobacco farm. And I’ve often shied away from the term farm or what I do, just because I think my grandfather might roll in his grave. I like to call what I do market gardening.

So I have a small family run urban market garden in Durham County I produce on about a third of an acre. I’m right at the edge of the city county limit.

My business started in 2009. When I began farming, I did so via I like sold my product via subscriptions. And I had a pretty diverse array of vegetables. Over the years I have found my niche and I have narrowed my focus so that now I’m focusing primarily on cut flowers microgreens shoots, and a smattering of seasonal vegetables.

I’ve also switched from a subscription run program to primarily selling products at a local farmers market about 95% of myself now or direct to consumer.

I have year round production. So I do have seasonal extension techniques. I’ve got a high tunnel, a solar shed that I grow in and lots and lots of row covers that I put out in the winter so I am at market 40 Plus weekends a year.

I also do a little bit of value added with my flower products I dry them and we’ll craft those in the rain and Christmas ornaments that kind of thing as we head into the winter months. And I know you’re a busy mother and wife tell us what’s market day like for a mother wife, urban farmer. It’s a lot. I’m not gonna lie about that. It actually begins on Thursday. So Thursdays and Fridays are heavy Harvest Days, typically up really late. Friday night making bouquets.

I’m really fortunate to live close to my market. So typically, I’m up by about 5am on Saturday morning. My husband gets up with me. He tends to load the van while I print out any orders that I received the previous two days and get my paperwork ready. I’m on the road and headed to market a 7am at the very latest. I’m about 15 minutes down the road from my market. So you know I like to say that we’re all creating like a little retail space and then 10 by 10 Canopy every single Saturday morning and under an hour. It can be a little frantic, getting it set up depending on how much product I have. And then I’m at market selling to customers from eight to 12 we break down after you know the closing bell at noon, and I’m typically home about one unloaded. Have some lunch by two and then you know every Saturday This is my reward. I get a little nap mid day in the market.

The NC chamber reports that agricultural outputs represent 1/6 of the state’s overall income. And this translates to one in six NC residents being provided jobs and $91 billion contributed to the state’s Academy. Ken, can you tell me more about your position with the software and farmers market?

Yeah, absolutely. So our market the south farm farmers market has been around for about 12 years now. We have approximately 35 vendors and at this point after more than a decade vending with a lot of these folks, I consider them to be good friends of mine. And we all take turns rotating through serving on the board of directors. So the market we have an employee a market manager, but then the board of directors runs the business of the market. This is my year to be the president of the board. As I’ve said previously, we all kind of take turns with that role.

And it’s one that we all do in the spirit of serving.

Now, how can people get in touch with you or find you and your amazing products?

Sure. So they can find my website online. It’s mama springs I’m also on social media, Facebook, it’s just mama springs and on Instagram, it’s mama spring farm.