Farm Bureau Challenge
Last Spring, I learned about an Entrepreneur Challenge put on by the American Farm Bureau. The competition offered cash prizes to help rural, ag-related businesses grow. I decided to enter, not necessarily expecting to win, but with an attitude of "Why not me?". Before you get your hopes up, I'll tell you that finalists were announced earlier this month, and The Fork in the Road was not among them. However, the impact that this competition has had on my business is incredible and I am so thankful that I took the leap. It helped me refine my vision and plans for the future and define tangible stepping-stones to getting there.
One of the first questions that I had to answer for the competition was "What problem are you trying to solve?" It's a little embarrassing to admit that I had never thought of this. Last Spring, if you had asked me why I grew vegetables to sell, I would have told you that I just really love to garden. As I dug deeper though, I realized this attitude is not sustainable, nor does it really speak to the heart of why I spend hundreds of hours sweating in the sun during the growing season.
It's commonly known that taking the time to make a meal plan can help families eat healthier and stick to the budget. However, with only 24 hours in a day and all of the other multitude of responsibilities that parents have to juggle, "What's for supper" is often an afterthought. This is the first "problem" that The Fork in the Road wants to help solve, starting next Spring.
Right now, there is a lot of time, thought, and planning going into offering nutritious, budget-friendly meals for your family next year. Each week of the growing season, we'll prepare baskets featuring seasonal vegetables from The Fork in the Road, meat from the craftsmen(& women) at GTB Meats, and recipes that pull it all together. Rest assured that there are a lot of self-imposed requirements on these meals, such as "easy to prepare after a long day" and "my kids will actually eat this". Stay tuned for more details as we figure this out.
P.S. Another amazing side-effect of this competition is all of the free advertising. The talented Rick McNary wrote this article about my entry: http://kansaslivingmagazine.com/articles/2015/10/19/the-fork-in-the-road