B.A., Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston
M.S. and Ph.D., Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
I grew up in a Massachusetts town where and when we could walk from home to a dairy farm, hayfield, nursery and rose-growing operation, and where we kids played in expanses of woods behind our house. That landscape is now covered by more houses, car dealers and fast food restaurants.
After getting a degree and working in psychology for a couple of years, I decided I’d rather work with plants, much like those that surrounded me growing up. I managed a teaching greenhouse while taking botany courses and then did graduate work in plant and soil sciences, focusing on mineral nutrition of vegetable crops.
The organic philosophy was not widely accepted in academia in the early ‘80s, so after a stint working with Cooperative Extension and then a temporary teaching job, I moved to Maine with my husband. He built our house and we raised Christmas trees, nursery stock and two children. We still do the trees and nursery; the kids have grown.
Maine has felt like home since we moved here, largely because of entities such as the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (I edit the association’s newspaper), Fedco, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Unity College. All are part of a statewide network of people (including Unity students) doing meaningful sustainable work and having a good time doing it.
At Unity I now teach Fundamentals of Organic Horticulture and an environmental citizen class that is connecting trails from Unity to Frye Mountain in Montville. I love being with the students as we consider how to keep farms, gardens and wild lands going and maybe even reclaim some land lost to development.