My focus on small farms and farmers market vendors

People have asked me why I choose to emphasize helping small farms and farmers market vendors, as a web developer and digital marketing consultant. They don’t usually fit the bill as what some might classify as a “high-ticket” marketing client! I saw a statistic the other day that 60% of small farms in Kitsap County made less than $10,000 last year. My reasons go far beyond big money, however…

I have always been strongly motivated by what I feel is “doing the right thing,” from a social and environmental perspective. My parents grew up in a semi-rural Midwest town, and previous generations of my family were farmers. For me, going back to law school and my days as a political cartoonist, and considering the area in which I grew up (Pacific Northwest), I have always known that environmental issues and sustainable living were among the most important causes to which a person could devote themselves. My work the past year for WSU Kitsap Extension has only underscored this, as I’ve been helping to support local agriculture, Regional Small Farms, and Master Gardeners for a land-grant college. I’ve learned a lot about the pain points for small farmers, such as shipping (with supplies coming in from out-of-state), communications and interactions with consumers (especially being on lockdown under COVID with social distancing), and networking with others in the industry.

Heavy Abell
Heavier Abell (R), circa 2008
However, my primary reasons for supporting this clientele are a bit more personal. I went to law school in New Orleans in the early 2000s. I had the time of my life, as probably evidenced by the fact that I didn’t FINISH law school. I absolutely loved living in New Orleans, but I have to admit that it is not always the healthiest place in the world to live. I partied my ass off, drank a lot, and sampled a lot of the local cuisine, usually in the form of greasy hangover po-boys. When I moved back to the Seattle area in my late 20s, I was 80 POUNDS heavier than I am today!

At some point in my mid-30s I realized that I couldn’t keep living this way. I went on a “health kick,” and got really interested in nutrition and healthy living. My chosen means of losing all that extra weight was juicing, and I became a huge fan of getting fresh produce from farmers markets for my concoctions. Once I really invested into that course, the weight poured off.

Abell and Aubrey
Abell and wife Aubrey at farmers market, 2018
Of course, my journey the past year as a new entrepreneur has only bolstered my dedication to supporting small businesses and growing the local economy, and I believe that agriculture is where it all starts. I know very well that money can be tight for small business owners, but the strong desire to grow is usually there for them too. Professional web developers are typically not cheap, and while options like Wix and Squarespace are affordable, often people who go those routes have no idea just how time-intensive the project they’re taking on is. Plus, I believe that most small business owners, being entrepreneurs like me, would rather support another local small business than go with a big company. I have been working hard the last few months to streamline my offerings and make it cheaper and quicker for small business owners to get a new website.

Hopefully, I can make it just a little easier for businesses like small farms and farmers market vendors to succeed, so other people can appreciate the benefits of healthy eating as much as I do!

See a demo website created for local small farms and small businesses.

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