We’re excited to welcome Sarah Mayer, the new Farm Manager at Wolf Ridge. She comes to us from southeastern Wisconsin. She has a B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Science, Natural Resource Emphasis from Carroll University, Waukesha, WI. Wolf Ridge Almanac editor Lori Walewski sat down recently to learn a bit more about her story and what brought her here.
LW – What brought you to farming?
SM – A native of the Great Lakes region in rural southeast Wisconsin’s grain and dairy country, I grew up on an abandoned farmstead allowing for much exploration of the outdoors, particularly running aimlessly through the never-ending sea of corn.
Inspired by the wonders of nature, I studied Environmental Science and Chemistry inside four walls with bits and pieces of fieldwork, and a life-sculpting study abroad in Alaska. Being a wayward graduate, I ventured into the world of nuclear power as a radiological chemist for a Wisconsin electrical utility.
After paying off academic loans, I dove into the world of ecological conservation, sustainability, and agriculture by way of a Native American tribe on the Mississippi River, The Nature Conservancy, a Montana family-owned nursery and landscape business, the Solar Living Institute in California, and a few Wisconsin vegetable and herb farms.
A huge advocate of permaculture, and sustainable and lean farming systems, I enjoy every opportunity to share my own experiences and what others have shared with me. Nature continues to inspire me daily in my quest to produce the most nutrient dense and tasty food possible in the most sustainable way possible.
LW – Favorite travel tip?
SM – Wear wool everything…especially underwear because it is a natural fiber that breathes really well and doesn’t absorb orders.
LW – What book and/or movie would you recommend others read?
SM – I would recommend the movie The Garden. It is a documentary about the South Central Farm, an urban community farm located in Los Angeles, CA.
LW – Who inspires you?
SM – If I could visit with any conservationist/naturalist/environmentalist, living or dead, I would hang out with Masanobu Fukuoka(1913-2008) at his farm on the Island of Shikoku, in southern Japan. Fukuoka blurred the lines of conservationist/naturalist/environmentalist/farmer/steward. Using nature as his guide, Fukuoka designed a no-till, chemical and fossil fuel free, soil amendment free, observation-based farming system. The results were continued soil health with respectable yields. Fukuoka employed the philosophy of working with, rather than against nature. This is a lifelong goal of mine.
“Natural farming is not just for growing crops,
it is for the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
– Masanobu Fukuoka