Podcast (Stoic Mettle):

Edit:10:39PST - I have to go to bed at some point tonight but I'll wake up and keep answering questions that are posted until the thread dies so ask away! I really appreciate all of the love and thanks for the great questions.

Comments: 821 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

Kvalle94610 karma

How does your lifestyle differ from before you started farming? What inspired you to go full time?

stoicmettle1995 karma

My whole life is different. I was in a pretty shitty place before I started farming. I was living a consumption lifestyle with shallow friends. I was partying and drinking a lot. The drinking really started to get away from me at one point after I had first started my farm. I really had to ask myself if my actions were going to let me be successful. It was a hard reality to face. I was so fucking lonely because I was working by myself so much and I stopped hanging out with my friends who only wanted to drink/party/do drugs. It sucked.
Now I'm totally the opposite of that guy. I try not to take my self worth out of material things, I eat healthy, I decided to try not drinking for 2018 to see how that was and I haven't had a drop since New Years. I eat most of my own food that I grow, I've made new friends who are living healthier lifestyles. It's been a wild ride so far.

TallGear39 karma

Did you log any changes (physically and mentally) from your vacation from drinking alcohol?

stoicmettle150 karma

I feel mentally lighter since I stopped drinking. I haven't done anything I regret all year. I've made the most money and spent the least. I'm starting to get into a working out routine which I've stuggled with for 3-4 years. I don't swing emotionally. I don't feel guilty about being hungover and not getting my work done.

Rajmang356 karma

What is stoicism? How do you apply that to your vegetables, as you state in your podcast?

stoicmettle852 karma

It's an philosophy with roots in Ancient Greece.
There are 2 main parts:
The dichotomy of control- You don't control what happens, but you do control how you respond
Living with Virtue- Using Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Discipline to navigate through life.

stitchedsoles29 karma

Does stoicism have anything to do with religion or is it just a philosophy/lifestyle choice?

stoicmettle71 karma

no you can easily make it work with most religions imo. I know lots of "Christian stoics" it is much more a system to navigate through life.

Strabe21 karma

I've been trying to to learn Stoicism and teach it to my family. Are there any good resources for teaching/learning, especially ones more appropriate to young children?

stoicmettle36 karma

Some guy msg'd me one time and had childrens books but Donald Robertson writes some stories for his daughter Poppy you could check out:

fas_nefas1 karma

Stoicism was more of a Roman philosophy.

But anyway, I prefer Epicureanism. Much more fun, but you know, not too much fun. Might as well enjoy yourself while you are here.

stoicmettle5 karma

It was Greek. Diogenes of Babylon went with 3 other philosophers in 155bc to Rome to appeal a fine and they brought philosophy to the roman empire. Even Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of Rome, wrote what would later become the book "the meditations" in ancient greek instead of latin because it was the language of the philosophers.

letmeeatcakenow336 karma

Hey! Your space looks great! I did a thing and got the city to let me farm on an abandoned pocket park. I only have 4500sqft tilled and planted. We're less than a mile from downtown of our capital city. We built a hoop house, and have a colony of bees. I have two kids under 3 and am the guardian of a dude in a group home so it's kind of a shoe string operation at this point. But I about broke even and am able to afford seeds for next year. So I've got that going for me!

Love reading your story, thanks for sharing.

What's one of the biggest mistakes you made?

I feel like I could write a book on all that I made this first year! 😜

Best of luck!

stoicmettle232 karma

I don't feel like I have made any critical mistakes yet but just lots of little ones. I burned out the last 2 seasons while I was working and off farm job. I had a really tough time mentally and emotionally in the fall. You're tired. Have less money than you thought. You work all the time, no social life.
You need to take care of yourself. You're not going to be good to anybody if you fall apart.

Mattt_MSI316 karma

Was the beard included in the starter pack or did you get it as a reward for completing the first season?

stoicmettle432 karma

in game upgrade

BigMike31101182 karma

Is it still possible to make a living as a farmer?

stoicmettle309 karma

Hell yes! There is a newer community of farm entrepreneurs all trying to make it work. It is still a really hard go but it's doable. I know multiple market gardens who are farming in a similar style as me that gross $100,000+ in a season on under 1 acre of land.
With that being said there are still a lot of farms that don't make money.

lysergicfuneral249 karma

gross $100,000+ in a season

Great, but what do you think they actually net?

stoicmettle46 karma

They can net 50-70% depending on how they run their operations. There is a sweet spot for a small farm where you find the right mix of market sales:labour

AntrimFarms132 karma

My wife and I are tossing around the idea of tapering off our web development businesses while ramping up a small farm business. Unfortunately, we live in the far north with about a 5 month growing season, so a big trek South is in the works. We’re going back and forth about wether we should grow one or two products consistently to supply restaurants and such, or grow multiple products to sell at markets or our own stand. Our experience consists of four 4x8 raised beds with a variety of veggies and a large indoor cannabis operation. Is there any advice you wish you’d known before getting started? Books, websites, etc? Thanks!

stoicmettle85 karma

It's hard to give context specific advise because the answere is going to be "It depends"
Check out Curtis Stone:
Check out Jean-Martin Fortier:
Get both of their books! Both those guys have online courses you can check out as well if that's your thing.

I also feel like my videos have been getting a lot better lately and would be right up your alley:

AntrimFarms24 karma

Awesome! I’m a subscriber to Curtis’ channel. What a wealth of knowledge he is. I’ll definitely check yours and the others out as well. Thank you and best wishes to your future seasons!

stoicmettle23 karma

Nice, I've been on Curtis' channel x3 over the past couple of years if you wanted to check out those vids

leiavader30113 karma

Do you grow beets?

Which bear is the best?

Have you watched Battlestar Galactica?

stoicmettle97 karma

Haha I love the office. I used to grow beets. Too many Dwight jokes haha

Phillipinsocal108 karma

What’s your opinion of tomatoes on hamburgers?

stoicmettle197 karma

I don't like eating tomatoes but I like how the plants smell in the greenhouse. so fuck them on burgers. Most tomatoes on burgers are shitty tomatoes. I've had really good locally grown tomatoes that I would put on a burger though so I guess it depends.
Happy Cake Day!

kalli00770 karma

Where do you sell your harvest? Local farmers market, distributors etc....

stoicmettle109 karma

I do 5oz bagged greens to local grocers. I sell at 2 resturants that are easy to deal with as well to 1 aggregrator.

Dahera7 karma

How did you find these outlets for your product? Just a lot of walking around?

stoicmettle16 karma

Yes. Lots of rejection, lots of failure. I'd call it persistence but Steven Pressfield said that's too lofty of something to live up to, I'm just plain stubborn.

As you develop a good reputation the right customers find you and you find your place.

Reallifelocal48 karma

Serious question are you single?

Edit: I've dabbled in urban farming and I'm really big on making my own bread. I'm 25 and female . Also a huge fan of Jordan Peterson.

stoicmettle63 karma

yeah, hit me up ha ha

thatsforthatsub41 karma

do you think stoicism tackles the basic question of meaning appropriately rather than simply supplying tools for an emotionally preconcieved stance on life? Going from that, would you say that it even needs to or is its claim more therapeutic than justificatory?

stoicmettle41 karma

I've been happily surprised with Stoicism so many times as I go deeper and feel I am making insights. To me reading some of the ancient guys, especially Seneca, it just seems like it comes from a place of deep wisdom.

I think Stoicism has some really good answers for how to live a good life.

Magsays5 karma

Have you read much Buddhism? I've done a decent amount but not much on stoicism. Just from my quick wiki search and this thread it seems they have a lot in common.

If there's one book you would recommend what would it be?

(This book changed my life)

stoicmettle6 karma

Haven't read much Buddhism, it does seem to have some similarities. One book to get you started about Stoicism or just in general?

Stoicism: Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Any book: Mastery by Robert Greene

hkyq40 karma

What did you do before farming / after season?

stoicmettle94 karma

I made kitchen cabinets for 9 years.
I worked at an architectural mill-working biz for 1 1/2 years.
I worked on the grounds crew at a golf course for a summer
I worked spray finishing cabinet doors right before I went full time and I'll actually do that part time for winter when they need me.
I'd eventually like to travel for winter and use it to create more art/pursue my creative endevours.

tomcochrane39 karma

What’s you schedule on an average day? How do you fit in filming+editing a daily vlog along with maintaining a farm?

stoicmettle54 karma

I wake up and start doing stuff, I try to go for a walk or 2 with my dog everyday at the river. For filming I usually film something I'm doing on my farm that day or filming as I move along with my day so that is easy, it just takes a little longer to do certain farm tasks if I am filming. I edit at night, usually start at 8-9.
I usually work most of the day right now, especially during summer. My season is starting to wind down now.

tomcochrane19 karma

What time do you usually get up? What time do you go to bed?

stoicmettle25 karma


Drunk_Klaus28 karma

How does one go about starting a small farm? It is something that I think I'm interested in, but have zero experience being around anything like that. If you know any resources I could read it would be appreciated, I will also check out your youtube.

stoicmettle48 karma

I think about this question a lot cause I asked it for 2 years. There are some good online courses that have come online over the past couple of years. One of my mentors has one that I took and would recommend:

red_rocksy28 karma

What kind of insurance do farmers like you need to have to protect against the elements like weather, fire, etc?

stoicmettle57 karma

I think some larger commercial farmers will have some kind of crop insurance but I don't need to worry about that so much. All my crops have short days to maturity (DTM) because my DTMs are short that means I am growing multiple successions of the same crop (lettuce, spinach etc) in the same year so if I was to have a 'catastrophic loss event' (which I still do, mostly cause by ignorance) it doesn't hit me as hard because I will have more crops coming out behind them.

photokeith21 karma

Do you have to rotate crops to keep the soil balanced?

stoicmettle36 karma

My crops are light feeders so it's not the highest priority for me but something to keep in the back of my mind. I add compost/natural fertilize between crops to balance the soil.

SkyEyeMCCIX23 karma

Since you grow a lot of food, do you ever really have to go get groceries? And if you do mostly just eat what you grow, do you ever get tired of eating the same thing over and over again?

stoicmettle64 karma

I still go get groceries all the time. Coffee, tea, oil, butter etc. My farm specialized in leafy greens so I eat a lot of salad and green smoothies, I still need to go buy lemon, ginger, etc. from the store. I also don't raise any of my own meat so I need to source that from colleagues or go to the store.
I've also bartered with other local farmers for stuff, I traded 1/2 a pig for my vegetables before so you can get the bill down but my farm is ran as a business not a one stop shop for my personal benefit.

Janders2124-7 karma

^ are people really this stupid?

stoicmettle3 karma

I don't think this was a stupid question to ask but it did made me think of something else:
I thought people had no idea where their food came from but when I became a farmer and people started asking me questions about food directly I was blown away. Some people have zero idea.

Nyrradrolyat1323 karma

What's your favorite lunch potatoe, dinner potatoes, breakfast potato, and midnight snack potatoe?

stoicmettle39 karma

fries, mashed, hashed, chips

jrf_197320 karma

How much land do you need to sustain one human over a year?

stoicmettle25 karma

I actually have no idea. You're talking more about homesteading. I don't know how much it would be to be self sustaining.

hedgehogsinhats18 karma

Do you agree with this?

Other than that, do you find that stoicism impacts your everyday work on the farm in any way?

stoicmettle26 karma

Stoicism helps me to overcome the hard times and to deal with the everyday challenges of running a farm business. There is so much that can go wrong you need to have something to deal with it. I'm non-religious so I've found a lot of value from Stoicism.

NateDawgRedEdge16 karma

First off - awesome beard m8! How many times did you end up harvesting in an individual season?

stoicmettle18 karma

x2 a week for the whole season

stoicmettle6 karma

and thanks!

n7-Jutsu16 karma

Are you stoked about this AMA?

stoicmettle36 karma

I didn't know how many people would ask questions so right now I'm just trying to keep up! Lmao
No time for feelings

I_cant_stop_evening16 karma

Did you play Stardew Valley before doing this?

stoicmettle32 karma

No, I'm scared to play that game because it feels like something that would take me away from my work.

wrathss13 karma

How much time and effort is it to farm your piece of land? (please layman your answer as I know nothing about farming at all).

Additional question, do you think it is the optimal and correct size for you?

stoicmettle12 karma

I don't know. I've always had labor jobs so it feels normal to work a lot being physical.
Right now I could handle my farm being a little bigger if that's what you mean

burnmanteamremington12 karma

Not sure if it has been asked but how big is the farm? Are you looking to expand if you do well in the next couple years? Congrats thought!

stoicmettle15 karma

Its under 1/4 acre this season. Each bed gets between 3-5 crops in it throughout the year so it is not really the best way to judge it just based on the land it occupies if that makes sense

jon200012 karma

How much did you profit from your first season, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of knowledge?

stoicmettle22 karma

This was actually my 3rd season farming but my first "Full time"
The first 2 years I did it part time and didn't take any money out of my biz, I made back what I put into it. This season I made money but I'll put most of it back into my biz for next season. Next year I'll start to take more of my personal income out of my biz as it will be more self-sustaining at that point.
In terms of knowledge my whole life has changed. I guess the biggest takeaway is learning that I'm capable of more than I thought was possible. It will be something that will stay with me hopefully for the rest of my life.

SilverLadybird12 karma

What is the processing like? To bag or wash your produce before it gets to the sellers along with any quality control checks? Also were there any licences and stuff to apply and pay for before you could sell to businesses?

stoicmettle11 karma

In BC where I am we have pretty relaxed regulations about that, just standard food safe stuff and you're good to go. Bigger stores would require more red tape but that's why I deal with small stores.

chloeskupnick11 karma

Where are you at in the pic? It looks very Oregon-y.

stoicmettle41 karma

Just a little north of Oregon eh ;)
Chilliwack, BC.

jimbowolf10 karma

Do you think you could do this fulltime indefinitely, or are you currently dependant on some form of backup income?

stoicmettle17 karma

Right now I still need to grow it more so I can be long term financially stable off of it but I'm open to the idea of having multiple streams on income. I don't think farming will be the whole pie for me. I feel like I'm more of a creative entrepreneur.

Awesomenimity9 karma

What are your thoughts about growing vegetables that require longer to mature? Would you need more land to make it profitable? Would it be less work?

I'm thinking turnips, pumpkins, melons, beets, beans...

stoicmettle12 karma

You'd need both. It just depends what your sales outlets are. My stores I can get away with only growing high profit crops but if you do a farmers market or a CSA you need to have crop diversity to get customers.

mojo4sale9 karma

One of your responses was that you put most of your profit back in to the business. Can you go into further detail on that? What kind of equipment do you need to operate the farm?

stoicmettle19 karma

hand tools, packing supplies, season extension (greenhouse etc.), Washing station supplies, mechanical transplanter, nursery supplies.
it's a business, you can always spend money on something to make it better.

n7-Jutsu9 karma

Whose field have you plowed and buried your seeds in?

stoicmettle62 karma

Your moms

AnoK7608 karma

what kind of investment did you put into your farm? If one were to want to start a small scale farm, how much should i expect to put into it?

stoicmettle17 karma


You can start really shoestring it and do it for less but if you spent about 20k you could have enough of the right tools to start being efficient. Long term you're going to need to spend more. You need to get efficient at what you're doing so you don't have to spend all your day working.

EcstasyAeternus8 karma

Do you let any of your greens bolt so you can keep the seeds or do you purchase seeds every year? Connecticut farming season is coming to a close here so I wanted to try growing leafy veg in my grow tent but I''ll have to do some research about what LED spectrum they benefit from.

stoicmettle10 karma

I purchase seeds for commerical
I'll save for my home garden.

You need to plant a shitload of stuff out in the fall and let it get to full maturity before the first frost. They won't grow that much all winter so as long as they don't get frozen for too long you can harvest off of them for months.

nmhnmhnmhnmh7 karma

Fellow Stoic! I've been practicing for a few years now. Are you currently participating in Stoic Week? I'm not this year, but I'm about halfway through Pigliucci's 'How to Be a Stoic' at the moment.

stoicmettle5 karma

Not doing Stoic Week this year but I did it last year, I think it's great. Nice! I had him on my podcast last year to talk about that book, we really helped me to understand what all the virtues meant. I felt it was a lightbulb moment for me.

PinstripeMonkey7 karma

Do you practice permaculture, or implement any of the tenants of it? Till or no till? Into building soil health long term?

stoicmettle11 karma

I first started this whole journey by doing a PDC. I implement some of the design principles on my farm more with layout and design but not so much in the sense of planting guilds and building swales. It doesn't work so well in a commercial context because of the added labor.
I do minimal till. I thought I was going to go no-till this year but I tilled a little. I am into building soil health long term but I think for the first couple of years you're farming you need to focus on being in biz next season. The long term health of the soil requires you staying on it so I use proven commercial techniques over some permaculture ideas.

MossBoss6 karma

How do you control weeds?

How do you control insects?

stoicmettle10 karma

I pull weeds out and don't let them go to seed.

justnick846 karma

Do you own the land you are working? I know land prices near you can be high.

stoicmettle8 karma

I don't own it but it's family land that I can use. Just a lucky situation.

justnick845 karma

Did you go organic? Why or why not?

stoicmettle19 karma

no, too much cost for not enough profit

wrathss5 karma

I have tried to find information about your farm but not quite able to. Where is your farm and do you have some basic info on your farm and your philosophy (some 1 page thing that is not a podcast or video)?

stoicmettle8 karma

Chilliwack, bc
I sell mainly leafy greens to local grocers

youarelookingatthis5 karma

How much money did you invest into your farm?

stoicmettle3 karma


greennoodlehair5 karma

On average how much time do you spend working everyday?

stoicmettle9 karma

On everything all together I'd say 10-12 but I always feel like I could be way more efficient

Sinistral134 karma

What made you choose farming?

stoicmettle4 karma

I thought I had a good skillset for it and I was living on land I could farm on.

FencePaling4 karma

Is your land North or South facing (and which hemisphere are you in?)

stoicmettle6 karma

It's farily flat, its a little wavy but we get good sun. northern

wadaball3 karma

How much cum is too much cum?

stoicmettle14 karma

different strokes for different folks

AgentSurvivor3 karma

Do you think farming will rise to prominence again? If not, how long do you think it will be before farming dies out?

stoicmettle12 karma

Farming is here forever, our entire world culture is based on it.

frigginboomtoys3 karma

In terms of philosophy, what do you think of the Cynics? In particularly Diogenes. Do you think there's a big crossover with Stoicism?

stoicmettle3 karma

I don't know much about the Cynics, I don't really have an opinion about it

sendddit3 karma

have you considered aquaponic gardening?

stoicmettle7 karma

No. That requires too much up capital up front.

TheWuggening3 karma

Do you raise your own animals for personal consumption as well?

stoicmettle8 karma

I used to have chickens but I gave them away to another farmer as I was too busy trying to get my biz going/working an off farm job.
I could see myself having some animals in the future again.

bunburyist_online3 karma

How do you setup initially? Do you guess what will sell, try a season, then find suppliers or go to market? I've got land and some greenhouses. I'm just Not sure on the best way to take the next few steps

stoicmettle7 karma

Yes, start by offering high value crops, you need to spend your time on high value crops and not to grow/sell low value. Try growing something and then hit the streets. Actions attract opportunities.

Saskuatchewan2 karma

I currently work on a small veggie farm scaled more to the CSA model, have you ever considered getting into that as well?

stoicmettle3 karma

I'd have to diversify my crop selection quite a bit and use more land. With my farm right now that would greatly increase the complexity of my business and idk how much reward I'd get out of that.

CocainParty2 karma

How would you go about practicing stoicism in modern times?

stoicmettle5 karma

Only worry about things you can control
Try to do and be the best version of yourself today in everything that you do. Do it again tomorrow.

srcockusjr20002 karma

how are the v e g e t a l business?

stoicmettle5 karma


emissivecandle2 karma

Can I come work for you :)?

stoicmettle3 karma

Haha no I'm just farming solo

yellow_leadbetter2 karma

Do you get neck strain from looking down at your crops for long periods of time? i.e when dealing with weeds for instance, I noticed you had to bend your neck down nearly the whole time. Followup: How do you counteract it or keep it at bay?

stoicmettle1 karma


DamascusSteel971 karma

Have you read Candide? You might like it, esp. the ending

stoicmettle1 karma

never read it, thanks for the recommendation

Sloppy_Tiger1 karma

What do you do to your land after the season is finished/before the next season starts?

stoicmettle1 karma

leave crops in the ground overwinter and add a big load of compost in the spring.

Ackerman250 karma

Have you considered going vegan?

stoicmettle3 karma

No, I love eating meat and eggs. I think there is an ethical way to farm meat.

thebarkingdog-1 karma

Is a hot dog considered a sandwich?

Follow Up question, what about a taco?

stoicmettle4 karma

hotdog=meat sandwhich
taco=meat wrap