Kyle Stenersen of Humble Roots Farm offers an online course in home-grown food.
Before you plant that first seed in your garden, Kyle Stenersen of Humble Roots Farm has some advice for you. Right in time for spring, his Grow Your Own Food Academy stems from his farming knowledge and horticulture degree from NC State but was inspired by his own experiences with online learning.
“I had taken online courses and saw how valuable it was,” he says. “It’s a powerful learning environment, more powerful than a classroom. You can watch the videos over and over and there are supplemental materials.”
With Grow Your Own Food Academy, Stenersen say he’s “trying to provide value for people who want to learn by having someone show them.”
“When you see someone doing something, showing you side-by-side, that’s how you learn,” he says.
Stenersen has learned an incredible amount in his decade of farming, and he wants to share it.
“I know how to do this professionally, commercially and not with crazy equipment,” he says. “I do it all by hand. It’s information you can apply to a very small scale and do it in your backyard.”
Stenersen lives at Humble Roots Farm with his wife, three children, two cats and three friendly white Great Pyrenees dogs. His philosophy about food drives his farming practices and his teaching.
“We, as a society today, have lost touch with what it means for food to be a significant part of our lives. Raw basic ingredients — vegetables, meats, grains — they used to be so much more important. We’d have harvest festivals. If you did not store enough food, you’d starve. That’s not true today, but I see us getting back to that importance. I like the transition. People are supporting local farms and farmers markets. I think that’s a better way of life. It’s better for humanity that we put food in a higher position than we have it now.”
The eight-module course in Grow Your Own Food Academy is asynchronous with three to four lessons per module. Stenersen offered a Spring Garden Prep checklist as a webinar to build interest in the course. A free trial also shows what the course is all about.
The course is offered as a $30 monthly subscription or annual subscription for $300. Stenersen expects to add additional courses for home food providers in poultry and bee keeping.
Some people like the “plant and see if it will grow” approach to gardening, and while Stenersen agrees that can work, he advocates understanding what he calls the four pillars – soil health and nutrition, seeds and plants, water and irrigation, and protection.
To get fruit from your garden is a culmination of forethought, action, and follow-up, he says. If you understand these four pillars and how they operate together, you will be successful.
Humble Roots Farm began February of 2013 and has grown into 2 acres of vegetable production plus 20 acres of pastured meat products, both pork and chicken. The farm store offers beef from a farmer in the Piedmont as well as Humble Roots products.