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Know Your Local Farmer | Jacque Kirila

Square Roots | 09.06.19

Our Next-Gen Farmers operate next-level technology, grow delicious food, and do it all in the middle of cities. We think that’s pretty cool. So every few weeks we spotlight their perspectives on food, farming, and how the industry is changing for the better. Go ahead, get to know your local farmer. →

Jacque Kirila, Next-Gen Farmer

Has farming always been a part of your life, and if not, what led you to this career?

Yes, farming has always been part of my life, but not a part of my career until the past 3 years.

I grew up on a hobby farm, meaning my family raised animals and grew food for our personal consumption and learning. This gave me a basic understanding of farming and where food comes from. In college, I focused on business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. While I was always conscious of the food I was eating and how it was affecting my health, I didn’t make the connection to my farmers until I graduated. As I started to support my local farmers through my own cooking and consumption, I recognized that being directly involved with farming was a career I wanted.

Based on this passion, I went to work for a company in Columbus, Ohio called Little Eater. Here, I purchased local and seasonal produce from farmers and artisan makers, which connected all of my passions. The respect I have for farmers comes from how they are able to build and connect a community, which is what sparked my interest in becoming one. Last year, I moved to Jamaica to live on a farm for three months. This experience brought me to a culture that valued farming in a whole different way than we do in the US.

I grew up in a small rural town and didn’t know a lot about the AgTech industry, but by following my passions, I was able to find the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program with Square Roots. Moving from Columbus, Ohio (a farm town and capital of a farming state), people think I am crazy for moving to New York City to become a farmer. There is no conventional path or road to get into farming, or any career for that matter, but thankfully I had the willpower and curiosity to find the career and lifestyle that would be right for me.

When you look at what’s happening in food and farming world right now, who is inspiring you?

Honestly, I am most inspired by those who are making calculated choices to make a long term impact on the environment and our food system. I am inspired by any farm creating an ecosystem to better the environment around them, which can be done in many different ways. All of the connections made between farmers with different growing styles will innovate the space quickly.

In 10 words or less, what are your hopes for a better food system?

Connecting people to grow, and educate about, real food.

Jacque Kirila, Next-Gen Farmer

Favorite local restaurant?

Metta in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Order carrot anything. They use all of the food, all the way down to the scraps. Carrot sorbet anyone?!

Go-to book?

The Vegetable Butcher. I use it almost every time I cook.

Best thing to do in NYC on the weekend?

Bike! See the city through a new lens every time.

You can follow along with Jacque Kirila on Instagram @plantedbyjacque and learn more about our Next-Gen Farmer Training Program on the Square Roots website.

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