Meet Iming Lin, a farmer who runs @meusefarm. Iming and her small team grow specialty vegetables for restaurants and two retailers using regenerative agriculture practices on about an acre of land in Hout Bay. She says: “Using seed and varieties selected for flavour, we aim to demonstrate that growing food well can be financially viable.”
Q & A with Iming
Question: What’s your goal/vision for this conference?
Answer: It is important for all players in the food space- producers, chefs, media, consumers – to communicate and share their concerns, needs, and interests. It’s only by understanding who your partners are and peering into their worlds that we will be able to connect food from soil/ocean to plate in a manner fair to people, planet, and animals (macro and micro).
Question: Name one person in this broader industry whom you look up to or a person who you really admire and why.
Answer: I admire the team behind Abalobi (@abalobi_app). The need for and world of on-sellers/amalgamation supporting small scale producers in SA is a complex one. How do people help bring farmers/fishers/etc to market but do so in a transparent, fair, and supportive way? How do they play this role but still keep the consumer or chef connected to the producer so that the details of HOW food is grown/caught/raised is still available (because that is the key, not broad labels)? Abalobi manages to do all of this- tell the stories that matter, be transparent in how they support fishers, educate while not preaching, facilitate buying responsibly, always highlight who fishes and how.
Question: Fill in the following: Transformation in this industry (name your specific field or cause) will happen when…
Answer: Transformation in farming will happen when we recognise that planting seeds in the ground and helping them grow is only a tiny part of running a successful farm business. Growing farmers means growing business people who can crunch numbers, create a farm plan, and research and understand their market.
Question: What would you love people to know about you and your work?
Answer: The sight of seeds germinating still excites and inspires awe (and relief) in me. I’m aware that I’m very privileged and that our farm model won’t work for everyone but I hope we make a case for good farming as good business. Also, I believe that the detail matters- the conversations about soil practices, seed breeding, good varieties, and knowing your farmer; not just the question “are you organic?”