Friday Book Club: Nine Business Tips from the Elder Garden.

May 29, 2020

Friday Book Club: Nine Business Tips from the Elder Garden.

May 29, 2023

During this unprecedented crisis, entrepreneurs, small and big businesses alike are facing massive challenges due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and its impact on the economy, culture and everyday life. At times like this, the garden is a place of refuge, sustenance and inspiration for how to navigate extremely challenging times like we find ourselves in now.

Whether you are an established business, a sole entrepreneur, a startup or non-profit, here are nine garden-inspired business tips from Farmer D to help you through this difficult time. These tips are inspired by Farmer D’s book, Citizen Farmers - The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities and Give Back to the Earth.

1. Compost = Stewardship: Make compost: define your purpose and mission statement.

When composting, we collect food scraps, yard waste and other organics and when blended together in an intentional balanced way, a transformative process takes root and what seemed like waste is transformed into rich compost that can be used to regenerate the soil and grow healthy vibrant plants.

When composting for business take inventory of your ideas, dreams and aspirations. How will your work benefit and impact others, your community and the planet? What business are you in that’s different than what currently exists?

2. Plan = Vision: Decide what you want your garden (business) to look like and what you want to grow and then develop a strategy to get there.

Businesses like gardens need a plan to make sure the seeds you plant are actually the things you want and that you have the capacity to take care of them.

What is your vision? What do you want your life to look like? What do you want your company to look like?

3. Till = Initiative: Prepare the soil by determining the activities you need to do to get started.

Caring for and investing in the soil is the key to growing healthy gardens. Our teams and networks are like the soil organisms in our gardens and when we engage and nourish them, they help us succeed.

What steps do you need to take to vet your idea, get support and make things happen?

4. Sow = Faith: Plant seeds!

Now that you have added some compost, planned what you want to grow and prepared the soil it’s time to plant some seeds. Every time we put a seed in the ground and start something new it’s an act of faith.

Believe in yourself and have faith you can make your dreams a reality while embracing that the journey to get there may not be exactly what you think it will be. What seeds do you want to plant? Are you prepared to take care of them?

5. Grow = Patience: Nurture your garden and care for the seeds you have planted.

Success in business like the garden comes with hard work, attention to details and patience.

Be a good observer and straightforward communicator, follow your intuition, ask for advice from others and resolve issues quickly. Better to fail fast and learn quickly from your mistakes.

6. Heal = Compassion: Take care of the earth and it will take care of you.

Gardening organically is a healing act, as it regenerates the soil and the soul. By having your hands in the soil you are nurturing yourself while you take care of the land.

Keep your hands in the soil of your business by paying close attention to the challenges and needs of your staff and customers. Have compassion, take time to listen and cherish the friendships you make along the way.

7. Reap = Gratitude: Celebrate your successes!

It’s so easy to always be tackling the next problem and forget to celebrate the accomplishments. Take the time when harvesting the fruits of your labor to celebrate and acknowledge those that helped make it happen.

Even the small successes are often overlooked yet they are often the most important. Don’t miss an opportunity to show gratitude for your team, customers and yourself when you reach a goal, close a new client or hit a new milestone. Consider creating harvest rituals that weave celebration into all your toil.

8. Share = Generosity: Share the love!

Giving feels good and businesses like gardens are a great platform for helping others. Find ways to “give back” through your business and consider building a cause into your mission.

There are many ways to give back such as donating time, money, products and/or services to a mission aligned non-profit, entrepreneur or small business. Take a tip from the Modern Elder Academy and consider being a “mentern”.

9. Sustain = Perseverance: Innovate and Rest.

Creativity and curiosity are two key ingredients to maintain your mojo. Invest in yourself, your team and your business to stay on the cutting edge and lead your industry. Take time for rest to avoid burnout and create space for creativity, curiosity and innovation.

Remember that the journey is the ultimate harvest as you build relationships, learn and grow. When nurtured with intention and wisdom, the virtuous cycle of the garden is regenerative and abundant.

Now go get your hands in the soil and grow a healthier you, family, garden, business, community and planet.

Daron “Farmer D” Joffe is a nationally recognized biodynamic farmer, consultant, entrepreneur and author of the acclaimed book Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities and Give Back to the Earth. He is the founder of Farmer D Consulting and has spent the past 20+ years designing and building community farms and gardens all over the country for agrihood communities, resorts, spas, hospitals, non-profits, schools, cities and private landowners. Learn more and connect at

Farmer D has had the pleasure of working with Chip Conley for many years and recently collaborated on the new Elder Garden at the Modern Elder Academy. Farmer D is also a two time alumni of MEA.

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