FAMILY – I have been with my wife and partner, Karen for 25 years. Together we’ve raised three independent, smart, good-hearted kids.
FARMER & SMALL BUSINESS OWNER – Karen and I own and manage Barefoot Gardens CSA; a vegetable farming operation that provides fresh produce and flowers to about 150 people in our community. We raise vegetables, flowers and berries using hand tools and traditional methods (without chemical pesticides or fertilizers). I love working with my hands outdoors and on the landscape as my grandfather and my ancestors did.
TEACHER – I love working with students! I think a quality education is the most important thing that we can offer our kids and young adults. I taught junior and senior high school at Beardstown and VIT. I also taught adult GED classes at Spoon River and Carl Sandburg Community Colleges, and for the last few years I’ve been teaching at Western Illinois University where I earned my Master’s Degree in Education in 2000.
OUTDOORSMAN – I grew up hunting and fishing with my Dad, Grandpa, brothers and friends. As a young man, I did wilderness survival trainings and became interested in sustainable farming and forestry. I continue to learn as much as I can about the animals, plants and history of the land that surrounds us. My favorite time of year to be in the woods is Morel mushroom season.
COMMUNITY SERVICE – I served in the Peace Corps, in the Dominican Republic, for two years. It was there that I first got interested building and improving communities, local food and small-scale farming. More recently, I served as president and board member of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance advocating for local food and sustainable farm systems. Over the years, I’ve coached my kids’ soccer, baseball and basketball teams, and have served as board president for my church.