GFP011: The Importance of Online Farm Marketing, Interview with Annie Warmke of Blue Rock Station, Ohio

Adapting to new technologies can sometimes be a good thing, and sometimes be a bad thing. Adapting to the internet is a good thing. It can, as it has for me, do good things for your business.

I have been marketing my CSA through my farm website, social media, and out on the streets in person. Even with the people I meet in person, a good percentage of them like having the website to send to friends, review at home, or join my CSA when they decide to.

Besides marketing my farm I have been busy working on it in other ways. I have redesigned my chicken tractors, started seedlings, and added more content to the Farm Marketing Solutions website.

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • The importance of online marketing.
  • The importance of building a community and what that means in terms of true sustainability.
  • I love chinese Kung-Fu.
  • Alternative housing options.
  • Green buildings.
  • Sustainle energy.

Interview with Annie Warmke of Blue Rock Station, Ohio

online farm marketing with blue rock station (6 of 6)

On the eve of the birth of their grandchild (Catlyn), Jay and Annie Warmke looked out over the foothills of the Central Appalachian Mountains in Muskingum County Ohio and felt they had come home. They bought the 38-acre tract that makes up Blue Rock Station in 1993, and dreamed of creating a retreat for their extended family.

A few months later, while listening to WMNF public radio (Tampa, FL), Annie heard architect Michael Reynolds of Solar Survival in Taos, New Mexico talking about a new type of home he designed that used clean waste like old tires and bottles. He called his design an "Earthship." The seed had been sown.

Construction of the original 1,650 square foot house began in 1996. During a nine-week period, 1,200 tires were brought in from an illegal dump site cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency near Roseville, OH. The tires were rammed with earth and used to create the walls of the single-family dwelling. Most of the wood used in the construction of the roof trusses and window framing was re-claimed from local barns.

Annie served as the contractor and project manager for the building of the original structure, with Jay serving as the support person and weekend carpenter.  They worked on this project during summers and vacations, taking a three-year break in 2001 to move to Europe.  In August, 2004 they returned to Blue Rock Station to live full time and create the premier green living center in Ohio.  Over 25,000 visitors have walked through the living room of the Earthship.

The goal is to merge engineering, art and re-use of existing materials. This is accomplished by creating buildings made out of re-used materials to demonstrate a series of alternative building techniques, including the Earthship, straw bale structures, earth bag walls, and whatever else seems to make sense.

In addition to the buildings, workshops and publications, Blue Rock Station is open periodically for llama trekking around the beautiful hills of Southeastern Ohio, special events like Earth Day and special open house tours, plus skill building weekends.

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

House of Trash Video:

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MTV Cribs Kids Edition:

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Chicken Tractor Design:

chicken tractor (1 of 2)
chicken tractor (2 of 2)

"The Wilds" Ohio Safari

farm animal safari (1 of 1)
farm animal safari (1 of 9)
farm animal safari (3 of 9)
farm animal safari (4 of 9)
farm animal safari (8 of 9)
farm animal safari (9 of 9)

Blue Rock Station

online farm marketing with blue rock station (1 of 3)
online farm marketing with blue rock station (2 of 3)
online farm marketing with blue rock station (2 of 6)
online farm marketing with blue rock station (3 of 3)
online farm marketing with blue rock station (3 of 6)
online farm marketing with blue rock station (4 of 6)
online farm marketing with blue rock station (5 of 6)

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Take aways:

Do you have a farm website? Are you using it effectively?

What have you done recently to develop a community around your farm?

Can you learn to live with less?

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My skills are ever-evolving as an interviewer. Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a rating in iTunes if you liked the show.