Apprenticeship Profile: Kim Sowinski

We are officially half way through the CSA season and we continue our apprenticeship profiles this week by introducing you to Kim Sowinski. Kim was born and raised in Chicago Illinois, where she had no idea of what it meant to be a farmer. Her first exposure to life on a farm came when she signed up as a WWOOFer at an intentional community in Northern Wisconsin in 2007. (In case you don't know, "WWOOF" stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In a nutshell, it's a network where farms and homesteads who need help can link-up with folks who are willing to get their hands dirty. For workers, it's a great way to travel and gain exposure to many different types of farms and farming operations). During her first month-long WWOOFing experience, Kim was introduced to farming through the lense of activism and realized how powerful and impactful it can be to make the choice to grow food. During her time in Wisconsin, she harvested pumpkins, squash and potatoes and saw brussel sprouts growing for the first time. She was hooked!

Like many aspiring farmers, Kim's path to farming took many twists and turns. Her work with a company in Chicago building urban gardens in people's backyards enabled her to realize how much she valued both the physical labor and the mental challenge that farming offers. In order to more fully integrate the practice of farming into her life, Kim enrolled in the Maharishi University of Management to study Sustainable Living and Soil Ecology. Kim loves farming because it's the work with the most environmental, social and emotional integrity. She was drawn to ATG out of a desire to explore the integration of livestock and vegetables and to learn more about Biodynamic and certified Organic practices. Her favorite place on the farm is the goat barn because it's fun and full of ridiculous characters! While at ATG, Kim feels that she's gained valuable insights into the big picture of running a small farm and is coming to understand just how much attention and daily care both animals and vegetables need to thrive.

During the 2019 season at ATG, Kim has filled the roll of the greenhouse point position. Her duties include seeding trays of vegetables, daily venting and watering, and moving trays of little plants out of the greenhouse to "harden-off" before they go out into the field. From what we see, Kim excels at whatever she sets her mind to, and farming is no exception. T hrough her research and on-farm trials, Kim has revolutionized sunflower shoot production at the farm, which originated with another apprentice (Ben Nommay) in 2017. Because of Kim's diligence and attention to detail, sunnies are now a staple ATG offering at the farmer's market booth, with local restaurants and in the CSA box!

Kim has the amazing capacity to simultaneously think deeply and work hard. She can multi task, while keeping the big vision of the farm in mind. She is capable, loving, and has a smile that can light up even the darkest grey day. Kim says, "ATG is an amazingly, beautiful and life enriching place," and we say, "all the more because you're here, Kim!"