Curtis Stone‘s “From the Field”// Early Impressions
Last year, when Curtis Stone announced that he would be (mostly) switching to a paid website called FromtheField.farm I saw a fair amount of skepticism in the comments, even a little outrage (but it’s YouTube, so...). There was support of course, but the dissenters surprised me. I’m not going to say I have loved every Curtis video, but for this specific project my first reaction was straight-up excitement.
I have gained an enormous amount of insight and value from watching Curtis’ videos over the years, especially those he shot at La Ferme Des Quatre Temps with JM Fortier, at Richard Perkins’ farm last year, and those from Wise Earth Farm (seriously, that farm is pretty great).
Whereas some commenters were lamenting this move as just a way for Curtis to gallivant around the continent (possibly, world) and visit all these brilliant farms at our expense, I didn’t see it that way at all. I have neither the time nor resources to visit these farms in their prime, so I was eyeing this as a huge opportunity for the farming world—for us all to pitch in for a ticket inside of many farms we likely never would get to otherwise (a forthcoming example is Excelsior Farm which Curtis said in one of his last Q&As is officially on the docket). Now the question is, with Curtis about to open the site back up to new members, do I still feel that way? Am I still excited now that we’re three months into it?
To back up, the idea was essentially for Curtis to move the majority of his content creation to one place—fromthefield.farm—but to do more on-site farm videos, do more in-depth Q&As, and offer greater value to his viewers. All things considered, the first round was relatively cheap at ~$50 for the year.
The site kicked off with several videos about Steadfast Farm. There were a couple crop planning videos, quite a few on marketing, one on the future of agriculture, a microgreen grower, and an intriguing new series where Curtis gets a consult from Rob Avis about finding the right land (Curtis is currently looking for a new homestead).
And these are all pretty good videos, rich with insight. I especially loved the Steadfast stuff. Vanessa was great and indeed, I am excited to see where this Rob Avis series goes as it perhaps unintentionally adds plot to the site: will Curtis find his land?
My favorite stuff so far has been the (now exclusively audio) Q&As in which he gives mini consults to members who email him with their questions. They are like mini podcasts. These Q&As are something I had loved about Curtis’ channel, so when he ceased doing them on his YouTube channel and moved them to FromtheField, this alone was worth the money. I will say that there is a soberness to the Q&As now (perhaps literally?) that wasn’t quite there when he did them live on Youtube/Instagram, but I still think there is as much value in these as anything else on the site.
Is there any no-till information? So far, not really, but it seems like if some of his forthcoming visits hold there could be soon. And of course, Steadfast is pretty dang low-till.
So, do I think it is worth it to join?
Without a doubt I am getting my fifty dollars worth of value out of this project.
Though, I am not sure where my threshold is yet, I think I would pay more. I think so. At least a little bit. Any number I put here would be arbitrary, but I can see this resource only improving with age as the site accumulates content.
Curtis did a video a couple years ago about other forms of capital than money that I really loved, and I think about that in these sorts of investments. You’re not just investing in Curtis, your investing in your knowledge. So, if this site keeps going for the next five or ten years, imagine what that small investment will look like then? imagine what you will have access to, and simultaneously, what you will have helped create for others. I don’t know how much I would pay, but I know how much that is worth: a heck of a lot more than I can afford on my own.