Jean-Martin Fortier: A Transformation of Farming
Writer’s Workshop C
Have you ever wondered about how your food is produced? Is it farmed organically or sustainably? Has it traveled half the earth to reach your plate? Jean-Martin Fortier is a farmer who has considered these questions, and has come up with simple solutions. He is an educator, farmer, and father that has influenced many gardeners and farmers alike. He advocates for organic farming by educating many people about the ins and outs of gardening intensively by using carefully refined practices. Furthermore, Jean-Martin Fortier has transformed the farming industry by breaking down the widespread belief that you need modern, costly equipment and lots of space to farm effectively and profitably.
Jean-Martin Fortier attended McGill University where he met his future wife, Maude-Hélène Desroches. Inspired by gardening gurus of the time such as Eliot Coleman of Four Seasons farm, Jean and Maude rented and cultivated 0.2 acres of rented land and set up a small summer camp before buying their own property in 2004. By their fourth year as a farm, they were able to make more than $100,000 in profits through local farmer’s markets, CSAs, and book sales.
Using their intensive farming methods, which included low setup costs, low-tech equipment such as shovels and other cost-effective tools, his farm was able to make a quick profit. After earning such a large amount of money with such little time and land, his farm was recognized by many farmers and gardeners alike. By 2014, he was educating many students and people about the ins and outs of gardening through seminars, workshops, and conferences in many different countries. He has written a book about organic market gardening that has won the American Horticultural Society book award.
Jean-Martin Fortier has helped re-shape the farming stereotype, and has become a point of interest for many people. He farms organically and intensively, making $60,000+ dollars per acre from his 10 acre plot comprised of roughly 1.5 acres of farmland. He is an advocate of not only profitable organic and intensive farming, but living well at the same time. By applying these core values, his farm has flourished and remained profitable for more than a decade. Most people believe that the stereotypical farmer is someone who works a backbreaking job and never has any time off, but that is not the case with Jean and his family. In fact, every year he is able to take vacation during winters to cut back stress levels while also owning a highly profitable farm.
Jean-Martin Fortier uses his organic farming methods to produce superior food compared to the bland, commercially grown foods offered at local grocery stores and large markets. To produce these quality foods, he employs numerous growing methods such as sowing or transplanting plants close to each other using intensive spacing and using natural fertilizers on his plants to increase vegetative growth, yields, and overall health. Such fertilizers include chicken manure, compost, and adding a kind of calcium for fruit development. He is able to produce superior food in terms of taste and quality.
Jean-Martin Fortier is a teacher of many, and loves to spread his transformative farming methods to all who will listen. By hosting seminars, workshops, and conferences in different countries, he has inspired many to create thriving, profitable farms using similar or the same methods he has used to set up his small-scale farm. By doing this, provided an alternative to the current model of the farming industry.
Fortier is also running an online program which teaches students how to run a successful farm. But since 2015, Jean-Martin Fortier has been working at much larger farm dedicated to naturally proving what he has been doing all along called “La Ferme des Quatre-Temps.” He joined it on a mission to educate young farmers. He has always preferred small-scale farming, growing great tasting foods, and sharing his knowledge with others. Jean-Martin Fortier is a role model change maker because he has essentially re-written the world of farming, operated a profitable farm even when the general belief was you couldn’t, inspired and taught aspiring young men and women to start thriving farms, and has even written a highly successful book.
Frost, Jesse. “J.M. Fortier and the Rise of the High-Profit Micro Farm.” Modern Farmer, Modern Farmer Media, 10 Oct. 2016, modernfarmer.com/2016/10/jm-fortier/.
Fortier, Jean Martin. “About JM Fortier.” The Market Gardener, Suleyka Media, 2017, www.themarketgardener.com/about-jm-fortier.
Publications, Inc. Ogden. “Grow Better, Not Bigger: An Interview with Jean-Martin Fortier.” Mother Earth News, Ogden Publications, Inc., 1 Mar. 2015, www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/interview-with-jean-martin-fortier-zbwz1503zkin.
Fortier, Jean M. The Market Gardener. Gabriola Island, New Society Publishers, 2014.