“From my first internship on a small farm, I was hooked.”
In college, Jeff majored in environmental studies with a concentration in sustainability and climate change. As his college career developed, he began interning and taking on apprentice roles at small farms and market gardens. When it comes to sustainability and growing, he takes both to heart. For one farming internship, he rode his bike 400 miles with everything he needed in his backpack in order to travel as sustainably as possible. The growing journey had begun.
Growth can happen anywhere
From that initial spark of inspiration on the farm, Jeff has now grown more than 250 varieties of vegetables, fruits, plants and herbs. He’s interned on small organic farms, grown microgreens for restaurants on the rooftops of downtown Chicago and worked as the personal gardener for world-renowned chef Rick Bayless.
Now, he might just be taking on his most important growth challenge yet.
Bringing healthy food and gardening passion to others
As manager of Hawthorne’s new associate hydroponic greenhouse in Vancouver, Washington, Jeff is taking charge of the effort to bring fresh, healthy food to the Clark County Food Bank all year long. While Clark County has an outdoor garden, they are only able to grow certain crops in the short season. With the climate regulation and irrigation precision in the greenhouse, Jeff can help provide fresh peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers throughout the year.
Jeff is not alone, though. He’s bringing his passion for sustainability and gardening to Hawthorne associates.
“I’m so excited to share my knowledge and experience with associates, so they feel empowered to grow healthy food and help others,” Jeff explained. “We’re just getting started, but it’s amazing to see the way associates are volunteering already.”
Where can we grow from here?
In addition to all the fresh produce possibilities the greenhouse offers, Jeff also hopes to start seeds as a way of supplementing the Bonnie Plants the greenhouse uses. His goal is to be able to donate plants to veterans and community gardens in the area. Eventually Jeff would like to explore outdoor garden possibilities, to help supplement the greenhouse efforts.
A perfect way to get back to his roots.