Tell me about your work:
I’ve recently moved to my family’s centennial farm with my husband and two children and have begun a new career as a specialty cut flower farmer and florist. Using permaculture design, I am additionally cultivating medicinal herbs and will be planting perennial nut and fruit trees over the next few years.
I also see that my work is to help bridge our cultural gap between the science and spirit worlds. I’d like to help support people, particularly women, to talk about and experience spirit and/or spirituality in their lives.
Through my previous work as a scientist and community organizer, I’ve realized the importance that connection to spirit and awareness of one’s purpose has on their well-being. This is an individual and diverse journey for everyone, but we can support one another on our journeys. Moving to our farm in Illinois is very much an experiment with figuring out what wellness means for me. Giving my science-brain permission to connect with my spirit has been a big part of it. It is awesome! And also challenging to continue living in a culture that doesn’t foster these conversations and growth. Thus, reinforcing connection to spirit is central to my vision of, “Cultivating Joy through Flowers, Art, & Self-Care.”
How did you get started?
There were multiple factors that contributed to our move. Having a young family and living 4500 miles away from our family support system was extremely challenging. Additionally, I wanted to ensure that our family farm would continue and spent a few years investigating on-farm business opportunities. I quickly discovered and fell in love with perennial agriculture – in this case the farming of fruit and nut trees. It can take years to get perennial crops established and my husband and I had to figure out other ventures to provide annual cash-flow in the early years. After attending many conferences, reading books, and becoming more clear about what brings us joy, we whittled down our list of on-farm businesses possibilities. In 2017, I grew my first Illinois garden. This was the first garden in which I planted more flowers than vegetables – it was such a novelty to be growing in a warmer region than Alaska! I fell deeply in love with flowers and knew it was a farm venture into which I could dive.
What is your favorite part of your work?
Spending time outdoors with flowers and connecting with Nature. It also brings me great joy to share the beauty of flowers with others.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
The hardest lesson that I am still navigating is how best to balance work and family time. As I start my business, I get to wear all the hats on the farming to sales spectrum. This requires a lot of varying expertise, learning curves, and time. Also, as a farmer dealing with living plants, it is hard to know what is necessary and what can be done another day.
How do you rejuvenate?
Getting good sleep. Paying attention to the things for which I am grateful. Meditating. Spending quality time with my family.
Where do you find inspiration?
From Nature. From Flowers. From my family. From focusing on the beauty that surrounds me.
Who do you look up to?
Kids and adults who follow their joy.
What is your best advice to women pursuing their passion?
Following your passion (purpose) is the best thing you can do for yourself. Give energy to the experiences that you want more of in your life and don’t give energy to the things that you don’t want in your life.
Be kind to yourself. You are worthy and enough as you are today. (I have to remind myself of these things, so sharing it with you)
Where is your favorite place in Central Illinois?
I am most grounded in my own backyard. I love spending time there. When adventuring out, I love exploring Allerton Park (near Monticello) with my family. It is a gem in our landscape.