Farming couple celebrates success of first book
NEWARK, OH --
When Jim and Mary Competti started spending more time on a small piece of land in Nashport, their only goal was to live more simply.
But six years later, their first book is listed as a "Hot New Release" on Amazon.com and they are getting ready to kick off their first book tour.
The Newark couple recently released "Growing Simple: The Story of Old World Garden Farms." It tells the story of how they developed an overgrown three-acre field into a farm that grows most of the food their family eats.
In the chapters of the book, they talk about gardening, raising bees, building barns out of reclaimed wood and raising chickens.
"We really connected with an audience," Mary said. "We can talk about living more simply, it's not about anything but that."
Parents of four children, with two full-time jobs, Jim and Mary made the decision in 2010 to try to simplify their lives.
They both loved working outside and gardening and decided starting Old World Garden Farms would be a good way to spend time together doing something they enjoyed.
In 2012, they decided to start a blog, oldworldgardenfarms.com to document the process.
Over the years, their blog grew in popularity, reaching more than 100,000 followers in 235 countries. But they decided they wanted to tell their story in a different way.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, they began working on their book, which they self-published through the print-on-demand service Book Baby.
"It's a major expansion of our website," Jim said. "People want to simplify and grow their own food. I think people know we've accomplished this but they didn't know how."
The book eliminates the misconception that farming and doing things yourself is incredibly expensive or time consuming, Jim said.
"That's the message people like the most, it's simple, easy to follow and real," he said.
One of the largest parts of the book is the chapter on their failures, Mary said.
"We talk about all the things we failed miserably at," she said. "A lot of people try and fail and then give up, but we focus on, what did we learn."
The book was released on April 26 and is being sold on Amazon and several other online retailers, as well as Barnes and Noble.
Presale numbers have been strong and the Compettis are hoping the book will make Amazon's best-seller list.
After celebrating the release of the book with a signing at Wilson's Garden Center, Jim and Mary are getting ready to start a book tour. For the next 10 months they'll be visiting 10 of their blog's most successful cities, including New York City, Minneapolis, Portland and Atlanta, one weekend at a time.
They are already thinking about writing more books, including books focused on gardening and recipes.
"The book's success really validates what we've done," Jim said. "Now we've got the bug and want to write more."
But right now they are focused on another project - downsizing and moving into a smaller, simpler house that they are building on the farm.
They've sold most of their possessions and their new home will be smaller and offer only what they need.
Although 2016 has already been a busy year, they are excited to see what comes next, Mary said.
"It's about simplifying to make your life more meaningful," she said. "We love being together and doing what we love to do."
For more information about Jim and Mary Competti or Old World Garden Farms, go to oldworldgardenfarms.com.