Tell us about yourself! How has your community's food history, culture, and system shaped your identity, values, and sense of purpose? (Max. 150 words)
I grew up on a diverse grain and livestock farm in northern Illinois. This medium sized farm (500 acres) provided a high standard of living for our family of six and two business partners. Much of what we ate came from our farm. Grains and livestock were sold into competitive markets. However, in 1987, I left the tradition of family farming for university when the farm credit bubble burst.Leaving the farm left a void in my life. When we moved back to ancestral land ten years ago, farming was different from what I had known. It was no longer possible to make a living on a small (or medium sized) farm growing commodities. I could not come back farm like my father. I had to reach back into my grandfathers’ heritages and produce food for sale directly to my community. Looking backward, I’ve become a 21st century farmer.