Ep 143. Mark Ramsay on Agricultural Education to Foster Young Farmers

Did you choose farming, or did farming choose you?


Today we’re joined by Mark Ramsay, Founder and Executive Director of Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm (or The LEAF) located in Southington, Connecticut. The LEAF brings classroom subjects to life, incorporating agricultural farming practices that are socially and ecologically beneficial while connecting learning through hands-on education. Mark is the 7th generation of the Lewis family to have continuously farmed the land since the 1700s. He’s worked full-time on the family farm since 1979. The amount of history and experience offered in this episode is a must for farmers of all backgrounds and experience levels!

In This Episode:

The family expectations of Mark’s role on the farm 1:15

The history of The LEAF 2:25

What kind of crops they work with 4:54

The LEAF’s process for making beds and getting crops planted 9:18

About the educational aspect of the farm 14:02

How the school gardens were set up 20:25

How the team is structured and how hiring decisions are made 22:55

How The LEAF approaches flower production 26:27

What purpose animals serve on the farm 35:32

When Mark decided to structure the business as it is today 37:37

What The LEAF is experimenting with these days 43:49

About the Guest:

The Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm (The L.E.A.F) is a 15 acre 501c-3 nonprofit educational farm in Southington, CT. Mark Ramsay is the 7th generation of his family to run the farm. Currently, the LEAF runs a year-round CSA program, a seasonal farm stand, and an online store in addition to numerous charitable and community programs. Mark and his team grow a huge variety of vegetables and cut flowers, and strive to create an inclusive and welcoming place for all.

Harvest Hosts Resources

If interested in being a host, please be sure to mention ​​Thriving Farmer Podcast on your application!

Harvest Hosts Facebook 

Harvest Hosts Instagram 

Become a Host Information

We are Harvest Hosts, a platform that connects over 180,000 RVers to local businesses and attractions. Based on our recent survey, Harvest Hosts members spend an average of $50 per night at each Host Location they visit; well-established Hosts are reporting an average of $13,000 in additional annual revenue. Our model is a cost-free opportunity for hosts to share their offerings with our members by opening up space for an overnight stay. We simply tell our members about you and they schedule their visit in advance. In exchange for the overnight stay, Harvest Host members are encouraged to make a purchase of at least $20 at each host location they visit. We hope to see you as a new host location of ours soon. If you have additional questions, please contact our Account Executive, JD at jd@harvesthosts.com.

Don’t believe us? Hear more from a host!

Resources and mentions

Website – http://www.leafct.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/the.leaf.ct

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/the.leaf.ct/

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.