We had a family garden when I was growing up in Alabama, and my dad gave me the responsibility of taking care of the beans. I really enjoyed that experience – a real sense of pride that has stayed with me.
What impacted me the most was one day when I was working construction (on the west coast) and I looked into the field next to our building project, and the field crew were harvesting and packing up the produce on their organic farm. I had a feeling of being “left out”. I had never thought before of doing something like that for a living, but I could see myself doing it now!
Holly (my girl friend – later to be my wife) grew up as a vegetarian and had been cooking for herself since her teens. She had much more environmental awareness than I did, and we both soon eased into a new lifestyle – one of sustainability, a heightened awareness of environmental issues, and one of community building comfort as we began to associate with others like us who had similar values.
Being laid off and the recession forced Holly and me back closer to home in North Carolina. My dad and I began to compare notes and talk about a new dream. That dream became a reality when we bought the land here (presently Harmony Ridge Farm) and set to do what we are doing now – being organic farmers.
We have never looked back.