With no formal agriculture education or farm training, Adam decided that he wanted to be a farmer. He wanted to work in small agriculture, producing food with integrity for himself and his community. Adam dreamed of someday helping other people and communities interested in strengthening their local food systems. He just needed to figure out how to make that happen.
Adam discovered a new program in Arkansas that teaches people to farm. The newly launched Center for Arkansas Farms and Food (CAFF) offered several programs, including a Farm Apprenticeship. He enrolled as an apprentice on an Arkansas farm and moved to the northwest corner of the state. The move put him closer to his parents and sister, who reside in Prairie Grove. It also brought him another step closer to his farm dream. Adam says he finds great value in the networking opportunities, courses, and hands-on experience of the CAFF apprenticeship program. His on-farm placement at Dripping Springs Garden has been an incredibly rewarding and educational experience.The ability to work with nature every day is what Adam loves most about farm life. He especially enjoys observing how farming can change and shape the landscape. Adam also believes the earth can change the people who cultivate it. He describes the deep gratification of directly sowing into the land and reaping the fruits of his labor. “It is incredibly hard work, but it is equally rewarding,” he adds. What excites Adam the most about his future in farming is the never-ending opportunities to learn. His goals for the future include learning from as many farmers as possible. He also looks forward to sharing what he has learned with others.
Before farming, Adam worked in retail, sales, and management. Most recently, Adam worked on developing a brewery and taproom in the historic Nocona Boot Factory. The brewery also supported those in need, through its associated food bank.
It was there that Adam learned about the role of community-supported agriculture to help those dealing with food insecurity. He firmly believes that sustainable, regenerative, and small-scale agriculture is a vital part of local food systems. Adam thinks that small farms are essential for strengthening communities. “To lift people up, from the soil up, has been my motto,” he says. “I hope to inspire more people to take part in this field.”
Adam’s advice to other aspiring farmers is look deeply at their interests, core values, goals, and inspirations. Then find a program that meets those. For Adam, the resources, education, and networking opportunities he was looking for were provided by the CAFF program. He says these were difficult to find before, mostly due to his minimal farm experience. The mentors and peers he’s met through his apprenticeship have had an incredible impact on him in a very short time. He hopes someday to have the same impact on others.
Adam believes it’s vital to observe nature, prioritize ecology and be good stewards of the land. He wants to share this message and his passion for strengthening local food systems. He believes that by doing so, we also strengthen our communities. Adam sums up his philosophy saying, “I truly believe we can create a better world by working together as a community, to grow food with integrity and purpose.”
More information on CAFF programs is available at caff.uark.edu or call 479-575-2798
Information on Dripping Springs Garden is available at DrippingSpringsGarden.com.