I came to farming the same way I came to Judaism: by birth and by choice. I grew up in Bozeman, Montana on a family homestead with a small goat dairy and a big vegetable garden. Growing up I took for granted that I would always live in the country and own goats, just like I took for granted that I would always be a practicing, religious Jew. It was just who I was raised to be.
And then, at the tender age of fourteen, I met Geoffrey and started the relationship that I hope to continue for the rest of my life. Around this time I had discovered my love for writing, and began to follow that as my life's vocation. I began to turn away from my vision of my life as a farmer, mother and Jew and started to think of new possibilities. I went to a Quaker college (Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina) and majored in English and Anthropology/Sociology with minors in European History and Women's Studies.
However, by my first year in college that original vision started to call once more, and I began, along with Geoffrey, the long process of training that we needed to start our own farm someday. The path from that earlier confidence to my assurance now was not as straight forward as I had imagined, but I think I had it right as a child: being a Jewish farmer is just my nature.
I still write novels and essays, and love to talk about any of the things I studied in college, as well as all the things I didn't study. I love to knit and sew, to bake bread and cook food I've grown, to cuddle and take care of my animals and especially to be playful and silly.
I was born and raised on the land that is now home to Avodah Farm. My two older brothers and I were homeschooled, and our family's large subsistence garden was, among other things, our science curriculum: we learned plant taxonomy by identifying weeds, explored microbiology through composting, and studied genetics by crossing different varieties of squash. Nonetheless, I never dreamed I would grow up to be a vegetable farmer. It wasn't until college that I discovered how satisfying the labor of growing food could be to me.
I attended Warren Wilson College (near Asheville, North Carolina), where I majored in Religious Studies and minored in Spanish and Latin American Studies. I knew I wasn't interested in a career in academia, though, so I began spending my summers working with Martha on small sustainable farms. I found that I loved the work, but just as important, I came to feel that of all possible livelihoods, farming was most in harmony with my Quaker values. We all ultimately depend on soil, water, sunlight, and plants to sustain our lives, but most ways of making a living today distance us from this fundamental reality. Inspired by the Quaker Testimony of Simplicity, I wanted to live in direct relationship with the source of my sustenance. I felt called to help folks who don't have the option of raising their own food develop a connection to the land that nourishes them, by selling the food I grew directly to those who would eat it.
Having settled on the vocation of farming, the obvious choice was to do it at home, on the land I grew up on. Although it took some time to overcome the all-too-human tendency to think the grass must be greener somewhere else (somewhere with flatter fields, or more acres, or a nice barn…), I now realize how lucky I am to be able to build my future, along with Martha, in a place I already know so well.
When I'm not planting, tending, harvesting, cooking, eating or selling vegetables, I also enjoy a good book, a thoughtful conversation, or a walk in the woods. I'm interested in religion, language, alternative economic models, and anything that helps me understand why people do what they do.