On this episode of Career closeup, we meet up with Tony Kasowski. Tony is in an enviable position working a job he loves with both altruistic rewards and the ability to make a living. Together with his cofounder at Phoenix’s St. Vincent De Paul’s Urban Garden, they took on the challenge of converting an old parking lot in South Phoenix and transforming it to a fertile, high yielding farm.
Tony’s accomplishments with what was initially believed to be a “cute garden” with now the ability to produce enough fruits and vegetables to feed the less fortunate are a testament to his character, initiative and determination. Tony found a way to continue his work with the Urban Farm and supplement his income through consulting, teaching, and private contracting work. However, it was clear in our time with him that the fuel of his enthusiasm are his love of farming and contribution his efforts have in other people’s lives. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and you are bound to come away with some valuable knowledge about growing your own garden. We encourage you to join his 15,900+ followers on instagram @tonygrowsfood, on Facebook he’s Tony Kasowski, and keep up with his latest adventures on FarmTrippin.com.
04:29 Problems with this approach to farming?
08:28 Converting an old parking lot to a fruitful Urban Farm
11:01 Tony’s background
12:53 What got you interested in farming?
15:01 How was the transition from working 9-5 to farming?
17:56 Did you set out to farm as not for profit charitable type work?
23:15 Are you familiar with any other organizations that are doing something similar?
26:13 Do you find it difficult to feed 4,500 people every day?
27:43 How challenging is starting an operation similar to yours, and what resources would you recommend?
31:08 How important has networking been?
33:18 Do you practice crop rotation?
37:01 The impact on volunteers
39:37 What can someone who wants to undertake a similar project expect?
43:34 Where/what do you teach?
45:00 Different farming techniques
47:12 What is the most impressive thing you’ve grown?
48:57 Where do you see farming going in the future?
54:23 What goals would you like to see St. Vincent de Paul undertake in the next five to ten years?
56:25 What would you tell yourself in high school?
Tony’s other Interview
Article about the health effects of GMO’s
Tony recommends using YouTube to search for answers to your questions. (Search for Tony Kasowski and you will find different interviews he has done with other farmers.)