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The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators: Dave

Dave is one of our original on-farm educators! He teaches all kinds of groups at the farm, as well as running his own market garden with his partner, Cindy, who is also an on-farm educator. Read on to learn more about him! 

How long have you worked at Angelic Organics?

Oh my gosh, I was afraid you’d ask me that! I would guess like 9 years, but I’m not sure. Maybe longer.

What experiences inform your work at the Learning Center? 

I taught an alternative middle school program that I helped design in Rockford for about 10 years. I also did backpacking trips with the kids from that middle school program to places like Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Also, from the 70s on, I’ve always had a big organic garden. When it started out, we were trying to raise as much food as we could. Maybe 12 years ago or so, we decided to enlarge our garden and sell organic produce at a Farmer's Market. After I taught in the alternative middle school program, I worked for about 19 years running an environmental center for school classes from Boone and Winnebago counties and the Pecatonica River Forest Preserve. Teachers would bring their classes out for a day at a time and we would do environmental education with them.

What classes do you teach?

I teach a wine making class and a cornbread making class (from the ground up! We grind the corn and so forth). Those are the programs that I teach and otherwise, I work with mostly student groups.

What is one interesting fact about you?

Especially now: I marched the very last leg of the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. We joined the march on the outskirts of Montgomery. I spent five or six years as a Lutheran minister.

Favorite thing to grow and/or eat?

I say it’s a toss up between lettuce and potatoes. Well, I guess you’d probably have to say heirloom tomatoes, because thats what my specialty is (between Cindy and I) at the Farmer’s Market.

Favorite farm animal?  

Goats! Oh, and I really like Babe the horse, too.

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

That’s a hard one. One time I had a high school group and after the day that they spent at the farm, some of the kids of the group were talking about basing some of their plans of what they would study in high school and college on the experience they had at the farm. More recently, we had just a wonderful group from the Polaris Charter School from Chicago: kids that had some really strong ethics and really interested in a healthier food system. That was just last week.

Want to take Dave's winemaking class? It always fills up, so register now.