I wasn’t born in a barn but was certainly raised in my grandparent’s vegetable gardens. Lunch was often a stop in the strawberry patch. Grandpa did his best teaching me to measure carrot seeds with a ruler, straight rows strung with string and whittled wood markers.
The bounty came in fall, as the canning jars lined the table: deep red tomatoes, string beans and grape jelly sealed with wax.
During the summers, I visited the home farm in rural LaFarge, delighting in the feeding pigs and scratching their itchy backs with a stick.
The career path took a winding path first to police work in Wisconsin’s capital city, Madison. For 22 years I walked the beat and fell in love with my adopted city.
But the farm girl in time hung up the duty belt and again picked up the pitchfork. How did I take the leap from neighborhood cop to compost geek?
Both jobs require patience, kindness, and patience. At the Salvation Army, a homeless shelter in my beat, I acquired vegetable plants and flowers which the children planted to beautify the shelter entrance. The kids munched on tomatoes planted in pots in the small park.
As the community officer in the Cypress-Magnolia neighborhood, we identified a need for fresh vegetables in this food desert. We worked together to create a community garden.
After retirement in 2017, Big River Organics launched to continue my adventures in sustainable agriculture. In composting, we deliberately transform food waste (previously discarded) into a valuable new product. Finished compost nurtures the next generation of seedlings. Taking care of our neighborhoods and nurturing our children makes this same promise.