Legend of the Carrot Ranch

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

May 28, 2012

A buckaroo once rode the California trails on a sorrel named Acorn. Her name was Charli, and she wanted to be an archaeologist or a writer. In the shoot-out for purpose, writing won the quick draw. She hung up her spurs and picked up a pen.

The pen pointed to the Rockies where she earned a BA in English Writing and several paychecks for freelancing. She honed her skill for copy as a State of Montana writing intern, fund-raising volunteer and student editor. Eventually she followed the trail east to the big city lights of the flatland known as the Midwest.

In Minneapolis, there were more opportunities than saloons on the Comstock—and that’s saying something. Like Goldilocks in cowgirl boots, Charli tried this job and that, but nothing was just right for the writer. Then one day she discovered the co-ops and signed on to an outfit riding roughshod over their marketing communications.

That’s where she discovered carrots. Now, old Acorn had loved carrots, and Charli was known to nibble a few. But the co-ops taught her that carrots were about accessibility and the right to good food. Co-ops had a logo in their history—a fisted carrot with the tagline, “Food for People, Not for Profit.” It reminded Charli of the buckaroos out west who raised cattle on the range for beef.

That logo also introduced Charli to the marketing concept of branding. Of course, she took to brand implementation like a calf to a cow. She understood brands had meaning and contributed to the experience of the consumer. Charli became a brand expert–developing, integrating and communicating successful co-op brands.

Sort of like earning a beer at the end of a long cattle drive, Charli earned numerous accolades for her ride with the co-ops. She received her Master Cooperative Communicator Certificate and several trophies prettier than beer bottles for writing, editing and story-telling. After all, what cowgirl can’t tell a good yarn?

Well, anyhow Charli also wrote as a freelancer, specializing in things like carrots and where they are grown and who is growing them. Co-ops and communications introduced her to the emergent community food system that includes community gardens, local food producers and farmers markets. In fact, Minneapolis community gardens have revised the old fisted carrot logo.

So it seems that carrots are the connector, the brand for “the people.” Yet, Charli’s heart longed for the west, and she rode off into the sunset one day and started her own Carrot Ranch in northern Idaho. She rounds up “words for people” on her ranch, specializing in food education (copy, recipe development and common scents kitchen skills). She can write carrot-top copy for direct mail, B2B and the Internet.

As a generalist, Charli has many other Stetsons—hats that can help businesses and individuals maximize their goals with marketing services, copy writing and training. Her client base includes others grasping the carrot: growing food for people, providing healthier alternatives for people or creating beauty for people. Carrot Ranch supports communication that betters people’s lives.

That’s the legend, and Charli is sticking to it. Rumors that Charli Mills is a country-western singer can easily be dispelled—just ask her to sing. Her tune can only be appreciated by Acorn and cattle on the range. But her writing provides clarity and influence–words for people. That’s something we can all raise a carrot to.

Contact Charli Mills at her ranch office: wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

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