Farming hasn’t always been a part of my life, but gardening and a farm adjacent world has. Some of my first memories are of helping my father, an avid gardener, bed prep, weed, and harvest from our family garden. The summertime meals, straight from our backyard, are the memories that I hold closest.
In addition to gardening with my father, going to my grandparents farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania was a constant. One of my favorite things to do as a small kid was have my dad take the tractor out and ride through the fields with him. I believe these early experiences were formative and have had an impact on my decision to follow agriculture as a career path.
Although gardening and farming were around me growing up, I didn’t seriously consider a career in agriculture until I applied for, and completed, a season long sustainable vegetable farming apprenticeship at MSU Tollgate Extension Farm in Novi, Michigan, under Will JaQuinde. I left with not only a foundation of knowledge in sustainable farming practices and plant science, but also an understanding that farming is a trade that gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. It’s a job with a certain degree of physicality, that is ever changing, and where problem solving is a constant. I realized I enjoy being connected to food, plants, and nature. To answer the question, there isn’t one thing that led me to a career in agriculture. It’s a combination of curiosity, exploration, and application, that is ongoing to this day.