Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

BACK TO THE FUTURE: This week, as students across the nation head back to school, HOMEGROWN chatted with new member Valerie, a college senior, snowboarder, hiker, crafter—and, just maybe, a future farmer. Get to know her below and, if you feel so inclined, drop her a line and wish her luck. Valerie, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We can’t wait to find out what your future holds!

What is Meet Your Neighbors? Most of us spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design here on HOMEGROWN. Well, nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands. (Or maybe hug? We’re huggers. But no pressure.)

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Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 2, 2013 at 6:20pm

Hello, Valerie. First off, congrats on beginning your senior year of college! We hear you’re studying geography, environmental studies, sustainable development, and geographic information systems. That sounds amazing but also like a lot to tackle. Can you tell us a bit more about how all of those things fit together for you?

Comment by Valerie Beyer on September 2, 2013 at 6:40pm

Hey, thanks! It's exciting to graduate in December. At first I was interested in renewable energy but as I began to dig deeper, I found I really cared about agriculture and the future of it. Being able to study sustainable environments allows me to use geographic data to examine how I can help the future of our food from monitoring water, production, costs, and much more. I have all GIS courses for my last semester so I'm anxious to use what I learn!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 2, 2013 at 6:43pm

Cool. You'll have to keep us posted! So, uh, the dreaded question: Given all of your interests and studies, what would your dream job be?

Comment by Valerie Beyer on September 2, 2013 at 7:03pm

My dream job would be to run a market that sold all local farmers produce and other perishable items--including my own. With that said, I'd like to create a CSA program back in my hometown off the land my family owns. I would want my farm to be as sustainable as possible and to be a model to others. 

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 2, 2013 at 7:06pm

Big plans—and exciting! You grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, right? Could you talk a little about how that shaped what you’ve pursued since?

Comment by Valerie Beyer on September 2, 2013 at 7:20pm

Hearing stories from my grandpa and my dad about what it was like to be a farmer made me admire the work and field. When I was younger my brothers and I would grow pumpkins, squash, and ornamental corn to the neighbors as well as use other crops in my families dinners. Growing up in a country town allowed me to always be immersed in that setting so now it just feels like home to see combines going down the road at harvest time.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 2, 2013 at 7:26pm

Wherever you end up will be lucky to have you as part of the community! Switching gears a bit, we hear you've recently built an in-ground composting pit. Is there a key tip or trick you can share?

Comment by Valerie Beyer on September 2, 2013 at 7:29pm

I love it because I can compost without having to obtain a big plastic bin to do it in! I keep mine covered with a tarp to reduce the amount of water that gets in it. I turn it every couple of days and I add paper towel cardboard rolls and newspaper in it frequently to help absorb the moisture. 

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on September 2, 2013 at 7:33pm

Thanks! OK, last question—but apologies in advance because it's a little cheesy (must be the changing of the seasons getting to us): What's one way you hope to change the world? (Hey, we warned you.) And before we sign off, thanks so much for being a part of HOMEGROWN, Valerie. We're thrilled you're here and can't wait to hear what's next for you!

Comment by Valerie Beyer on September 2, 2013 at 7:36pm

I hope to change the world in at least one way by showing people how easy growing your own food is and how much better it tastes! 

Thanks so much for the opportunity to tell my story. I'm looking forward to all the tips and tricks I find out about on here thanks to Homegrown.org! 


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