Future farmer: beyond organic

I am on a journey beyond organic agriculture, toward a regenerative agriculture.

I served six years in the US Air Force where I repaired instruments and flight control systems on AWACS and Pave Hawk Search and Rescue aircraft. I toured Japan and Europe, loved and lost, met countless friends from different cultures, and was dedicated to my service and fellow service-members, thankful for all the experiences.

I came home about four years ago to my family and to struggle through survivor’s guilt, being too proud to admit I needed help overcoming injuries, social isolation and addiction. In a hazy mental fog and at my lowest, after bouncing from relative to relative and finally crashing on my grandmother’s couch, I began working in her backyard garden to pass the time. It had stood fallow since my grandfather’s death. I felt my strength and focus returning as I watched stunted tomato vines, puny broccoli plants, and sad carrots emerge from the depleted soil. That soil and I have grown and become resilient together. I still tend that garden some weekends, but now I live with my father, a retired Vietnam-era veteran crippled by Agent Orange exposure.

I could write pages about why I’m called to start a farm but instead I’ll show you a film that conveys my complicated feelings, which I found after I began gardening:

Please support the film Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields. Their staff has put together so many resources and even got me a scholarship to attend a two week intensive farm school. Contact the folks below to coordinate a screening of the film in your area:

Join the Ground Operations movement

My own dream is to work a farm to raise my family on. We’ll have an orchard, vegetable beds, medicinal and culinary herbs, pastured sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and fish, according to “agroforestry” methods that mimic forest and savanna ecologies. This farm will host educational programs for students and other veterans to learn how to start their own agricultural enterprises. Stay tuned for updates from my family farm!

My first brood of chickens, raised behind my apartment

A sketch/vision plan for my early homestead operation. Mobile farm infrastructure: portable solar electric paddocks on trailer, chicken tractors

Until I’m fit enough to work again, I’m researching farm techniques and exploring sales channels. I’ll be successful out the gate as soon as I’m back at optimum health. Stay tuned as I share what I learn about a farming practice that HEALS the earth and BUILDS community.