When did you start farming?
I’m not actually a farmer per se, but rather a farm educator. I run all of the youth programs at CAASTLC’s Seeds of Hope Farm, with our teen employment program being the bulk of what I do.
What is your background?
I was raised in Southern California and attended college at the University of California Santa Cruz, which is home to many spectacular farms as well as the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. Living and studying among the redwoods at UCSC exposed me to a way of thinking that regarded the natural environment and all its inhabitants as sacred.
Between classes, I would ride my bicycle to the 30-acre campus farm, sit beside my favorite apple tree atop a hill overlooking the ocean, and complete my coursework. These moments of pause shaped my worldview and set me on a path of growing food, cultivating community, and reconnecting young people to the land.
Throughout my time as a student at UCSC, I volunteered at the Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project – a 3-acre organic farm that provides transitional employment to people who are homeless. This was my first hands-on farm experience and I absolutely loved it! So, about a year after graduation, I traveled to Costa Rica to work on two more farms: Finca Luna Nueva and Rancho Mastatal. These experiences introduced me to biodynamic farming, earthen building, tropical plant medicine and, oh, so much more.
I spent the next couple years of my life traveling, working for Cafe Gratitude (an incredible plant-based restaurant that supports local farmers), and soaking up the Bay Area beauty. I eventually made up my mind to attend graduate school and was lucky enough to earn my MSW right here in Saint Louis. Through a serendipitous encounter with Gabriel Hahn, former farm manager of Seeds of Hope, I landed a graduate school apprenticeship on the farm, which later evolved into a full-time job developing and delivering farm-based youth programs at Seeds of Hope.
How long have you worked on the farm?
I’ve been employed at CAASTLC’s Seeds of Hope Farm for three years. Wow, time flies!
Why is it important for people to know where their food comes from?
Simply put, because knowing how your food was grown and who grew it increases your capacity to practice gratitude for the time, energy, resources and love poured into it.
What has been your greatest struggle as a small farmer in the food industry?… Read the rest