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The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators: Randy

I’m Lauren and I am the Duffy Community Partnership intern at Angelic Organics Learning Center from Beloit College. I’m doing a series of interviews called “The Real Dirt on On-farm Educators” which highlight all the educators who teach classes at the Learning Center.


How long have you worked at Angelic Organics?

I have lost count, as it feels like I have always known the farm as home. I believe I am going on my eighth growing season this year.

 What experiences inform your work at the Learning Center?

I have always had a passion for the natural world. As long as I can recall, I have considered myself an environmentalist. I have been active with many environmental groups over the years, but feel that it is paramount that people develop and nurture their connection to the earth before they are willing to fight for it. I was compelled to focus on education and solutions – and local food/organic farming is a big piece of that. It is my mission to get more kids outdoors and playing in the dirt. I've been gardening for many years. I believe this culture is starving for connectedness and deep relationships. In the garden we renew our connections to the earth and take part in the circle of life. In the garden we can experience the connectedness and trust in change -even death - because there's a continuum, there  really are no final endings.  compost- soil -plant -compost.

 What classes do you teach?

8721307815_1bff5a1d52_z.jpgI teach a little bit of everything – from gardening to kids programs, but probably my favorite class is “Kids with Cob” because children get the opportunity to learn about green solutions and get creative and dirty building a mini ecovillage out of mini mud houses.

 What is one interesting fact about you?

I live with my family in a geodesic dome not too far from the farm. We used to run an educational/retreat center from the dome. My wife and I taught natural childbirth classes there for many years and our second son, Rowan was born at home.

  What's your favorite thing to grow and/or eat? Favorite farm animal?

One of my favorite things to grow is gourds. I love to watch how they take shape and they provide a nice, shady spot in the garden. Plus, we use the gourds in day camps with the kids to make crafts. My favorite edible is probably greens. We have cold-frames in our garden that extend the growing season of our favorite leafy greens. Last year was also a great year for cucumbers, we made some wonderful pickles!

The goats on the farm provide hours of entertainment, but my favorite animal has to be Babe, the resident elder Percheron horse. It’s impossible for me to be in a bad mood around her.

 What has been your most rewarding teaching experience at the farm?

One of the most rewarding experiences for me is to witness the kids trying new things on the farm – whether it is walking in the creek, or tasting broccoli fresh from the fields. I love it when groups can stay longer than one day and truly build a relationship with us, the farm and the animals and truly experience all the connections.

Catch Randy in action: he's teaching our Get Started Growing Food at Home class on April 19 from 9am-4pm. He'll cover soil texture and soil life, the basics of preparaing a garden bed and seeding and transplanting through hands-on projects.  Register now!