Hello everyone! My name is Richie Janssen and I am now interning full time here at Bertrand farm. I would first like to say that I am very excited by this opportunity and am looking forward to meeting you all very soon at workshops and markets. It is love and awe for the wonder of nature are in my blood. Some of my earliest memories are of standing in a sun bathed garden, hearing the magnificent hum of hundreds of insects, seeing our ultimate source of energy the Sun reflected back at me in a mosaic of shapes and colors. This was a memory before knowledge and understanding began to breakdown the experience into words and images, but I can still recall the feeling of ultimate connectedness to all things free from definition and bound only by imagination. Working with nature is something that I feel I was born to do. I have endless energy for the work and thinking that goes with it; how could I possibly question that?
So here I am. I have spent the last four years reading all I can about earths indigenous agricultural history and the current thinking and practicing being done by revolutionaries in the field(i.e. Sepp Holzer, Masanobu Fukuoka, and Jeff Lawton to name a few; who all have great books and youtube videos by the way). As a student in the most wonderful Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University I have access to diverse pool of scientific knowledge of the natural world, all of which is so incredibly applicable to agriculture. Since high school I have been practicing and making mistakes in a 15 x 10 meter plot at my parents home in Barrington, Illinois. That is my playground where I am free to experiment with different mixes of plants. My own philosophy of farming is being guided by this search for knowledge and constant experimentation, changing slightly each day as I engage with plants and animals. At the base line you could consider me a Permaculturist, and I am feeling very privileged to have access to this place in which to practice, as well as to have a like minded and successful mentor from whom to learn the things that don’t come from books. I am eager to have a positive impact on this small, diverse island adrift in the sea of corn. During my time here I will be developing an educational module for an introduction to Permaculture, specifically focusing on edge space design and planting for perennial forage crops, as well as one for proper tool use and maintenance. I will be graduating next spring and hope to reference this summer to help me get an apprenticeship or a lease on some land to start building a farm of my own.
My first week here has been excellent. Fresh eggs every morning for my favorite meal, endless greens, open minds, and mentally stimulating work, what could be better? We have a great, hardworking crew this year who are all equally passionate in their own ways. A plant geek, a food engineer, an educator… maybe its a perfect storm. Theri says it is an experimental year, and I am ready to take full advantage of that fact. So lets get to it! After breakfast, of course 😉