Greetings friends, family, and neighbors of Green Earth Harvest! My name is Russ, and I am grateful to have been selected as the new farm manager here at McDonald Farm! This is an exciting opportunity for me and I am thrilled to be sharing this wonderful time with all of you fantastic people. I’d like to take this time to briefly introduce myself and share a few goals of mine here on the farm. I’m sure we will have plenty of time to meet and mingle as the days go on, but here’s to getting started!
I was born and raised in Chicago and have loved being outdoors my entire life. Some of my favorite memories are of times spent in forest preserves, playing in trees, or just finding a good dense patch of brush to explore. When I went to college, I studied forest resource management at SIUC where I also began understanding the connection between healthy land and healthy food. Since then, I have worked at and managed agricultural operations ranging from nursery production to environmental restoration. I currently live with my partner Melissa, whom I met while in college some 15 years ago. Together, we have our own 7,000 sq. ft. garden that we have managed holistically for the past 5 years. We also share our lives with an enormous cat, Mr. Persimmons, and our little old Chihuahua, Sophie, both of whom have been with us for over a decade.
As the manager of Green Earth Harvest, I hope to streamline our growing practices and focus on regularly providing a copious amount and variety of staple crops while keeping things interesting with new colors and flavors through the seasons. My goal is to increase our utilization of organic mulches this season in order to minimize the need for physical and mechanical weed control while increasing the organic matter content of the soil. By increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil, we hope to see better moisture and temperature regulation in the root zone and increased nutrient availability to the plants. What this means for you is that the food we grow will not only be more plentiful, but also more nutritious and more sustainable!
For now, I look forward to having the opportunity to meet and speak with all of you in due time. I am always eager to learn something new and willing to try things differently. If you have any thoughts, concerns, or ideas, feel free to contact me via email or in person at the farm. Until then, I’ve got some work to do!
Farmer Russ RCerocke@theconservationfoundation.org