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Modern family farm

At 13 Cody Johnson found his passion for farming, now it's become a family business.

Cody Johnson knew what he wanted to do with his life at an earlier age than most people.

“I was 13 when I actually planted my first garden and started learning from it. And I was about 15 or 16 when I went to my first farmers market.”

Six years later, at the age of 22, Cody has grown Nevada City’s Johnson Family Farm into a full-time business.

“We’ve got my mom who works with me, pretty much full-time. She’s kind of my co-partner with running the business.”

He also works with his three sisters, Andolin, Lily, and Callia. They’re in the fields with him most days and are also his salespeople at the markets.

All three women say he’s a good boss, and spending so much time together has been a good thing. “I love my whole family. It’s nice working with them, and it’s really brought us close,” says Lily.

Cody agrees. “Being able to work all day together, every day, it’s a blessing.”

Like many small farmers in California, Cody reaches his clients through farmers markets, a major part of the farm-to-fork food chain.

“Our customer base is pretty much everything. If they weren’t here to support us, we wouldn’t be in business.”

“You get to be social, actually interact with people directly,” says Cody. “Everybody becomes your friend, after a while.”

And if you’re looking for tips on starting your own farm or garden, Cody’s advice is simple.

“You really have to just get out and do it yourself to learn how. I didn’t learn this from anybody else, so everything was trial and error for me. Everything that’s been successful, I’ve screwed it up at least once to get it to be successful.”

Despite his early start, Cody says farming isn’t something he’ll be outgrowing anytime soon.

“I’m probably always going to be doing something with agriculture because I love it. As far as (the farm) goes, this is just a starting point for me. I’m going see where this branches out to. I want to just keep experimenting and see what happens.”

10 Words

Our 10 Words team met Cody Johnson at the PlacerGROWN farmers market in Roseville while we were talking with people about whatever was on their minds.

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