Ep 85. Andy Chae on Urban Farming in Detroit

Should you consider a career in farming if you are in an urban setting?

Our guest on this week’s Thriving Farmer Podcast thinks you should! Andy Chae of Fisheye Farms in Detroit, Michigan grows sustainably-raised produce, herbs, and flowers in a farm-to-chef business for restaurants and markets in the Detroit area. Andy became enamored with urban agriculture and the opportunity it presents to positively impact the world. He pursued volunteer and apprenticeship opportunities throughout his studies, and after graduating, traveled to Brazil to work on an organic farm before starting Fisheye Farms. Join us today to hear all about Andy’s unique farming journey and mission!

In This Episode:

What Fisheye Farms is all about 1:03

About the mission of the urban farm in Chicago Andy was involved with 4:54

What Andy’s experience was like working with kids on the farm 6:24

What a typical week looks like on Fisheye Farms 8:57

How felt pots are working out for Andy on his farm 13:10

What kind of equipment Andy uses on the farm 15:12

Why Andy uses fire hoses as a weight system for row covers 18:39

What kind of infrastructure makes up Fisheye Farms 22:44

What systems Fisheye Farms has in place to make sure vital tasks get done 26:50

What Fisheye Farms uses for seed storage 30:44

About the hardest thing Andy has done as a farmer 31:36

About Andy’s loan experience with Steward 34:16

Who Andy’s mentors in farming were 35:16

What systems Andy would have put into place sooner given the chance to turn back time 38:53

How Fisheye Farms divides roles on the farm 41:32

How Andy involves his local community in his operations 47:05

About the wine & weeding event Andy hosts 49:26

Where Fisheye Farms focuses their marketing efforts 52:40

About the origin of Fisheye Farms’ name 58:38

The biggest mistake Andy sees new farmers making 1:01:48

Andy’s favorite farming tool 1.03:07

How Andy feels about the prospect of starting a farm now 1.04:23

Where you can find out more about Andy and Fisheye Farms 1.09:51

About the Guest

Andy Chae and Amy Eckert started Fisheye Farms, as a small market garden in Detroit, Michigan in 2015. They now farm 2 acres of land in the center of the city. They serve a 80 member CSA, area restaurants, and a small weekly on-site farmstand.

Resources and mentions

Website – www.fisheyefarms.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/fisheyefarms/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/fisheyefarms/

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.