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About


MIO in his 80 square foot garden
that yielded 400lbs in a single year
Itinerant Urban Farmer, Entrepreneur, Educator, Community Organizer, Nathan Ballentine is Man in Overalls. 
Growing in Jacksonville, FL
Connecting Globally
Nathan has been growing food since he was eight years old. In 2009, with an entrepreneurial spirit amidst the recession, Nathan launched his business as a way to inspire and support folks to grow food for self and neighbor. He combines ag. know-how with environmental design and human-focused strategies to help people grow lots of food in the least amount of space possible. He has worked with hundreds of families, community and school gardeners, small market farmers, and the FL Department of Agriculture (FDACS), where he started the Fresh for Florida Kids Food Garden and authored a school garden guide. In the FDACS Kids Garden, Nathan was featured in a series of food gardening educational videos.

Man in Overalls offers food garden consultation, design, installation, education, maintenance, and project management services


MIO at TFN's Collard & Cornbread Gathering
In 2010, Nathan connected with other dynamic good food leaders to co-found the Tallahassee Food Network. TFN is a regional coalition of the global movement that works to grow community-based good food systems. He served on the board and acted as its first (volunteer) executive director. While director, Nathan facilitated TFN's Collards and Cornbread Gatherings, a cross-cultural, community-based good food incubator network session that yielded related businesses, organizations, programs, policies, over 200 organization-to-organization partnerships, and (in 3 brief years) over $700k in leveraged funding for partner organizations. 

During 2011 TFN-organized Food Day activities, Man in Overalls overheard a youth group discussing their dream to start a farm. iGrow Whatever You Like, TFN's community youth empowerment & entrepreneurial urban ag program grew out of his collaboration with the young people. From 2011-2014, he served as the Start-up Coordinator of iGrow. 



MIO with wife, Mary Elizabeth and TFN
leaders Clarenia White & Sundiata Ameh-El
at Jefferson Awards in Washington DC
May 2014, Nathan Ballentine, Man in Overalls was honored as the Tallahassee Democrat Volunteer of the Year and received the Jefferson Award for Public Service for Tallahassee Food Network's efforts in growing community-based good food systems. He also received the Warren Wilson College Alumni Distinguished Community Service Award in October 2013. 

In 2014/2015, Nathan served as a TFN Ambassador while traveling the world with his wife, Mary Elizabeth. In addition to 35 states, they visited 19 countries, encountered 9 currencies, learned considerable Spanish and French. The two of them focused on learning culture, dance, and about the many community-based good food systems they encountered. 

In the fall of 2015, Nathan & Mary Elizabeth settled in Jacksonville, FL, the city of her birth, the town of his father's childhood. They purchased a home near downtown, and planted their own food garden, which feeds them daily and produces a bounty they are able to share with neighbors.

Nathan, Man in Overalls continues his work, now rooted in Jacksonville, FL to help others grow their groceries and maintains a blog of stories and tips at ManInOveralls.com. He has authored many food gardening resources including "So You Want to Start a School Garden," a guide published by the Florida Department of Agriculture. His work and words have been featured in the ABC, Urban Farming, Tallahassee Democrat, Natural Awakenings and Faith and Fitness. These resources, press clippings, and his educational videos are available on his website. He can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @ManInOveralls.

Additional Information
Major Projects
Fleet Farming Riverside
Southwood Community Garden
Kate Sullivan School Garden
FBMC Benefits Management Company Garden
FDACS Fresh for Florida Kids Food Garden
iGrow-Whatever You Like, an urban ag. youth empowerment program
Tallahassee Food Network, N. Florida's regional good food coalition
Other posts about Completed Jobs

Education and Agricultural Training
Nathan, Man in Overalls has been food gardening since eight. In high school, he began planting fruit trees. Throughout his studies in community organizing and social movements at Warren Wilson College (class of '08), Nathan managed a Permaculture edible landscape complete with vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and medicinals as part of his school's student work requirement. Also while at Warren Wilson, Man in Overalls began to study widely on different methods of small scale agriculture including organic, biointensive, permaculture, and SPIN Farming. In the years since graduation, his agricultural education continues via hands-on research & data-gathering, workshops, trainings, visits to farms and community gardens, as well as best-practice gleaning from books, Google, YouTube, and by way of conversation with other urban agricultural innovators. It's paid off: in a single year in his 80 square-foot garden, Man in Overalls raised 400lbs of food using organic methods while only breaking a sweat twice, to topdress and replant. He does, in fact, know how to help you #GrowYourGroceries the easy way.

Press (most recent to oldest)
First Coast News
-"Local Man Wants to Help People Grow Their Groceries"
Faith and Fitness Magazine
-"A Workout with Man in Overalls"
Action News Jax
-"Growing a Garden in Your Yard..."
FDACS: Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign Magazine
-"the man in Overalls"
Urban Farm Magazine
- "One Thing" (by Man in Overalls)
ABC Documentary
- "A Peace of Bread"
Warren Wilson College Owl and Spade
- "Bluring the Lines"
Natural Awakenings of Tallahassee
- "Food Sovereignty" (by Man in Overalls)
Tallahssee Democrat Chronicle
- "Kate Sullivan Garden Moves to Phase Two"
Natural Awakenings of Tallahassee
- "The Man in Overalls Grows Food Gardening Dreams"
Tallahassee Democrat Local Front Page Feature
- "He's Definitely Pro-Growth"
For more, click here

If I can support you...
in growing food for self and neighbor, let me know. I offer turn-key food gardening support services here in NE FL and can support aspiring food gardeners in other places across the Deep South as well. To inquire about that, email me.

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