When did you know that you wanted to work in food?
It was not exactly an 'aha moment', but it came gradually to me as my wife and I were finally able to see the results of our hard work developing a small piece of land in China. There's something magical about eating what you've worked so hard to grow all by yourself, especially given that we had not only grown our food, but developed the land from scratch using only natural fertilizer and materials from the local area.
How did you get your current good food job?
I created it myself! I got the idea of growing my own food as a side project, since I work so much in front of a computer. Although it's not my full-time job, and it doesn't pay, I've gotten more and more involved in the eco-community since I launched Hippohelp. Many of our hosts are ecologically minded people who do all kinds of exciting food projects.
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
I grew up in the countryside, so I've always been close to nature and have had plenty of opportunities to work with my hands. My parents grow their own food, so I've also gotten useful tips from them. And I've learned a lot through trial and error.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in pursuing your Good Food Job dream?
The greatest obstacle was starting out with developing our land. It was a lot of hard work, and the soil contained plenty of stones. But as we made progress, we got more and more motivated to finish the work.
When it comes to Hippohelp, the greatest obstacle was (and still is) getting more people to know about it. I've gotten great feedback from the users who have found it, both those who work and travel, and those who host travelers. But it's hard to spread the words without funds for advertising.
Name one positive thing that a former employer taught you that you continue to appreciate?
Do what you love and have fun. Life's way too short to spend your working hours on something that you don't like doing.
What can you identify as the greatest opportunities in food right now?
I would say that it's the eco-movement. More and more "regular" people are starting to see the benefits of eating and growing their own food in an ecologically sustainable way. There are so many ways in which ecological thinking can have a positive impact on the world. I want to promote eco-tourism, and that's why I created Hippohelp.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
When it comes to farming, having more carrots than we can eat is enough to make me satisfied - the taste cannot be compared to carrots that you buy in a store!
When it comes to Hippohelp, it's undoubtedly reading the emails I get every now and then from users who are genuinely happy to hear about and use Hippohelp. I love that I'm able to make a positive impact in the lives of so many people, and to make the eco-tourism and work exchange movement more recognized.