A couple weeks ago I was asked if I grew up growing vegetables, or if I had dreams of being an organic vegetable grower. The answer to both questions is no. It is hard to believe considering I did grow up in Wisconsin – the dairy state and one of the leading states in organic production. The only exposure I really had was visiting the nearby apple orchards and hanging out at my friend’s houses that had dairy farms.
The desire to get my hands dirty and learn an important component in every human’s survival, food, began in October of 2006. Five months after graduating from college, I found myself in Colorado, the fourth state where I'd found residency in my “post-college wandering blues." I had just moved to a home off the grid at 11,000 feet elevation outside of Leadville. I was caretaking a cabin while helping the owner finish constructing his nearby home. Colorado is known for its 300+ days of sunshine--which we did have at 11,000 feet, but we also had a lot of snow! The previous tenants had taken full advantage of the sunshine and built a small greenhouse. From the moment I was shown the home I would be living in for the winter, the small adjacent 6’ by 12’ steeply pitched greenhouse caught my eye. Maybe it was because it was the warmest place on site. I was amazed with the growth that was happening inside this little building while I trekked through snow up to my thighs to reach it. I felt like a young child again, getting so excited of something quite simple.
I guess you can say this image is the inspiration to where I am now. How could I be 23 years old and not know how to take a seed and nourish it through life to feed myself or others? I spent the winter reading books and sketching rotational field plans before taking an apprenticeship on Vancouver Island for a season. I still find myself feeling like a child whenever something new ripens or when there is a table full of seedlings.