When did you know that you wanted to work in food?
My father had heart surgery in 1997 and after seeing him in the hospital I took a long look at my life and lifestyle and realized I was treating myself poorly, eating poorly, smoking cigarettes, and never exercising. I started growing herbs on my back deck, then planted a small garden, then a community garden, and finally started interning and volunteering on organic farms. In 2008 I tore apart a small diesel school bus and travelled across the US, to Alaska, and through Canada, wwoofing at various places and learning homesteading and more farming skills, then finally moved back home in 2010 after a 3-month intensive certification in Natural Building at Yestermorrow in Vermont. I started our beyond-organic, permaculture-based farm in October 2010, met Cheyenne (we married in Sept. 2013) soon after being back home and we began farming together in November, 2011. Our micro-scale farm sits on just 2.5 acres where we breed and raise pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, keep bees, and grow hundreds of varieties of veggies, herbs, flowers, fruits, nuts, and mushrooms. We also host classes, farm tours, free workshops, on-farm yoga, do Permaculture/homesteading/
How did you get your current good food job?
I started our farm. After having been hosted by many other great folks, I knew it was time for me to host others. My wife and I have hosted over 60 people from around the world in the past four years and the experience has been beyond description. Astounding comes close.
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
Everything in life leads to your path. I can't describe the exact moment because there have been so many that have made me realize this path is the only path to walk. Our planet needs healing, and all it's inhabitants. Growing food is the direct connection to that health and rejuvenation, period.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in pursuing your Good Food Job dream?
Working alone for the first year was the most difficult hurdle I had to overcome. I worked full-time as an IT Engineer, Monday through Friday, funding my start-up farm. A year later Cheyenne moved in and joined me. Instead of using machines we opted to use people and animals to work our land and it has made it ALL worth while because we share in the triumphs and failures with everything and everyone around us. Strength in numbers makes perseverance a walk in the park!
Name one positive thing that a former boss / employer / manager taught you that you continue to use / admire / appreciate?
A former manager said to me once, "I just want you to be happy doing what you love to do." It literally floored me. My heart almost burst with emotion because I knew the words were truth. It has effected me in how I interact with others on and off our farm and has lead me to institute ideals and experiences on our farm to help others be happy and comfortable - foods they love to eat, a lunch time 2 hour siesta, a wood fired hot tub, ping-pong table, trampoline, yoga, champion projects that push their limits, off-farm events and learning opportunities, music on and off the farm, connections with other farms and friends who need paid labor so our interns and work-traders can make more money if they desire, and much more.
What can you identify as the greatest opportunities in food right now?
Recognizing your lawn is totally edible, and few know it! We wild forage directly from our lawn and the flavor and nutritional value is outstanding. We have taught many others this valuable lesson - the world is truly an oyster with lit pearls in the rough that need to be cherished.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
Friendship and companionship.