From the Archives, let's revisit why farmers and technology marry so well together.
It is 7 am, and I have a string of goats to milk. Since I keep track of their health so closely, Evernote is the perfect way to keep all my barn notes updated. As each doe makes her way from pasture to milk stand, her well being and milk totals are noted and recorded. No more notebook and stubby pencil. I can bring up their history right there, so any questions I have about the individual girl is at my fingertips.
In the garden, any problem I may be having with plants can be photographed and sent immediately to Twitter with a hashtag that will alert other gardeners that I have a problem that I need help identifying.
On another note, when I cook something using garden fresh vegetables, taking a photo of the dish, is a great way to make it easier for readers to understand my willy nilly recipe jargon.
I can also find a customer who needs produce or eggs, alert locals that I am making an egg run to town, customers can text me or post a message on my Facebook wall, asking if the strawberries are ready.
Customers request a soap delivery or ask about availability of salves, soaps, teas..anything that grows or is made here.
I can also share my joys or challenges in real time. Last year, I had to put down an beloved goat, and it was people on Twitter who shared my grief. Not everyone can relate to loving a farm animal. I was broken, and they commiserated in a way that only another livestock owner could.
At the farmers market, I use an app called Square, that allows me to swipe your credit/debit card. This has been life changing for selling product from the farm. So many people no longer carry cash. This simple change can make buying and selling easier for everyone.
Being available for canning questions in real time. Are you canning your tomatoes straight from the garden and need help? How about getting 1 ton of zucchini dropped off on your porch. If you need to know how to convert that into food for the pantry, you can email, tweet, post to my wall or just check out my blog.
I am not the only one. Social media has made many farm to plate connections. If you need to find a farmers market, just Google it. There are hundreds of newsletters, chat formats and social gatherings happening, and the farmers are savvy to the fact.
Now, having an email list of potential customers is as important as a seed supply for the small farmer. Our iPads, Smartphone and laptops just make it easier to bring a little farm to your living room.