This week on Tent Talk, our guests Melissa Canales and Taylor McDonald share how they made the leap from lives in social service professions into urban farming at Quantum Microgreens. With no farming background, the two searched out information and education. Growing in the highly diverse urban San Diego neighborhood of City Heights , they currently sell in five local farmers’ markets per week.

Choosing urban farming and learning to grow

Relying on every source from YouTube to helpful county agriculture department staff,  attorney Melissa immersed herself in exploring regulations and accumulating data. The two carefully considered their capacity before landing on microgreens for a variety of reasons they share here. Their education continues, as they learn from other farmers at the markets, and also from formal classes at the local Small Business Development Center, workshops and conferences.

Aiming for chefs, landing at farmers’ markets

Melissa tells us that they never anticipated selling at farmers’ markets when they created their business plan. It was chefs that she approached to sell wholesale who asked which markets Quantum Microgreens participated in, almost as a test of their legitimacy. The next step was studying how to grow in small enough containers that customers could take the microgreens home still growing, to keep them as fresh as possible all week. They started at very small markets as they honed their systems. Now they’re gradually expanding to larger farmers’ markets as their farm’s capacity continues to increase.

While they keep learning about farming and entrepreneurship, they also teach what they’ve learned. Taylor works with their local community organization to encourage other small urban growers, and the two share with various groups and their market customers about the health benefits of microgreens.

Where can I listen to Melissa & Taylor’s full episode of Tent Talk?

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