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Man in Overalls - Last night, 10 years ago


10 years ago, last night - as recorded in my journal ...
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"I couldn't sleep all night long because I was up thinking about this food gardening business idea. I settled on a few things: a name and a branded persona ("Man in Overalls") as well as a few ideas on how to use such a persona and business as a food movement platform and how to make food gardening demand viral."
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A few months before, once I had decided to focus my efforts on launching a food gardening biz, I concluded that of the three pillars necessary for successful biz (product, books, and marketing), I was comfortable with the first two, but how to market? How to arrange for customers to come a calling? I had not a clue. Thus it was in this all-nighter idea-storm 10 years ago that I was suddenly released like water finding a crack in a dam.
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It all started with the idea about a cardboard sign. (Well, it really started with my grandfather who lived everyday of his life in overalls, who, ultimately, was buried in overalls, but that's a story for another day.) Do you remember those signs that panhandlers used to hold that read, "Will work for food?" In the aftermath of 2008, there were a lot more folks with signs, but, I noticed, none of them had that catch phrase. One day as I was living the question of how I could market a food gardening business, I waited in a long line of cars at a light where a man held a sign, and I realized that in 10 minutes, he was "marketing" to a couple hundred cars. In the course of a day: several thousand. I could do that...
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What if...? I wondered, laying in bed 10 years back. "What if I held a sign beside the road that read, 'Will GARDEN for food'?" I could use it as a business slogan, print it on t-shirts, business cards, brochures. "I could hold a shovel or a pitchfork, maybe, like that classic farmer photo." [American Gothic]. To complete the image, I'd, of course, have to wear overalls. And my mind raced on: How could I craft the image so that it was front-page news worthy? How do I foster a viral gossip loop where people, upon getting to work, would exclaim, "Did you see that guy beside the road this morning?" And lastly, I asked, "What would they call me when their co-workers asked, "Who?" -- "You know, that man in overalls."
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Thank you to the many, many people who have supported me as I grew my dreams. Thank you.
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As I look to the future, my dreams are once again flowing - though a little more muddled. As I peer through the fog, one idea keeps coming up: "Team in Overalls."
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Let’s see what grows from here.
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If I can support you in growing your groceries locally (here in NE FL)...
please, click here to see my services & book me for a consultation, so I can assess your site; we'll discuss design, answer your questions, talk #s, and get your project lined up. I offer turn-key raised bed food garden support services.
If you'd like to support me...
in freely sharing my stories & expertise, please consider passing along this article to a friend or sharing on social media. Each of my articles take hours of resource gathering, writing, and editing, so I want to make sure they don't just sit on the digital shelf.
Respectfully,
Nathan Ballentine (Man in Overalls)
Itinerant Urban Farmer, Entrepreneur, Educator, Community Organizer
Growing in Jacksonville, FL. Connecting Globally.
(904) 240-9592
Email Man In Overalls at Gmail dot com
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But really. :)


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