Green World Path has been drawing some attention.
From Dunedin to Dubai, the company is offering organic farming products and consultations.
Nationally and internationally, it has continued to grow.
It’s making a local mark, too.
“This time of year, we’re really rolling,” said Dori Bon, the company’s marketing coordinator. “We ship out everyday … We have classes. We help outreach groups, humanitarian groups.”
Bon gave a tour of the company’s warehouse last month. The aroma of fish oils still filled the air. There also was the familiar sight of the giant fermentation tanks, mixing the organic gardening chemicals used to treat everything from a residential garden to a 300-acre golf course.
It emphasizes hydroponic growing, which is ideal for those in urban areas who would like to grow their own vegetables organically. Someone with a small yard in Spring Hill could conceivably plant beans, peppers and tomatoes within arm’s reach of his or her bedroom window.
“This will feed a family of four,” said CEO Ray Nielson as he walked through the maze of hydroponic plants. “You’ll never have to buy your produce at a grocery store.”
Green World Path gets regular visits from local landscapers and lawn spray companies. More people are learning about organic alternatives to fertilizing their lawns, so there is obvious demand, Nielson said.
“We get a new landscaper come in here every three days or so,” he said. “They’re coming at us big time.”
Bon recently moved to Hernando County from Sanibel Island. The job at Green World Path appealed to her because she had seen up close how overpopulation, quick development and a liberal use of conventional fertilizer could pollute the groundwater and environment.
Moving to the Weeki Wachee area was like “a breath of fresh air,” she said.
She has seen a bear in her yard. She also has seen a coyote. She grows vegetables and has free-roaming chickens on her property, she said.
J.B. Williams is a chemist at Green World Path.
During a visit last month, he acted more like a history teacher.
He described how up until 70 years ago, the American farmer almost always used organic methods to grow crops. After World War II and after ammonium nitrate – a chemical compound used in gunpowder – was no longer needed in large supplies by the military, it became an active ingredient in fertilizer, Williams said.
“American farming and worldwide farming really got away from organic,” he said. “People have really taken that to heart. Now there’s a realization that going organic and going green is imperative.”
Williams didn’t stop.
He compared the difference between someone growing a tomato garden today versus a decade ago.
“Ten years ago, someone would have thrown all the Miracle Grow they could at it,” he joked. “Plants are like a slave … no, they’re like a junkie to fertilizer. We’re giving them back the materials they need to survive. If you build better soil, you build better plants.”
Nielson said Green World Path sales have tripled in the last year and he predicts similar growth in 2009 in spite of the economy.
He thinks a focus on local markets, offering weekly classes and its endeavors with the local chamber has played a part.
“We’re all about Hernando County first,” Nielson said.
Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or [email protected]
Biz at a glance:
Name of biz – Green World Path
Founder – Ray Nielson
Where it is – 1665 Donto Way, Brooksville
What it is – Organic farming consulting company
Get in touch – 352-799-0200
On the Web – www.greenworldpath.com