As you may have noticed by now, I like to keep things interesting in my life. Over the last few months I have been struggling to balance my Director Position with Fields to Families with working as a full-time nanny (plus babysitting, landscaping, dog walking, etc.).
I have had very little time, energy, or money to allow to me to stay connected with friends and family as I was working days, nights, and weekends. I honestly avoided blogging for fear of scaring people into thinking I was going to have a full-blown meltdown… which was not far from reality.
Just as I felt as if I had lost my way, I was presented with the opportunity to take on a new position with Lowcountry Local First (non-profit that supports the shift to buying local) as the Director of Sustainable Agriculture. This was a tricky offer because the person that held this position before me was a friend of mine and I felt very committed to Fields to Families. This being said, I could not ignore the fact that I needed a full-time salary and the position was perfect for me. So over the last month I informed my board at Fields to Families as well as my nanny family that I would be leaving. I slowly began taking on responsibility at LLF while tying up loose ends at my previous positions.
Yesterday was my first day solely working with LLF and for the first time in almost five years, I will finally have only one job. Okay, let me say that again. For the first time in almost five years, I will finally have only ONE JOB. This alone is like a gift from the heavens. You can read the email announcement that was sent out at the very bottom of this post. In summary, I will be running a department that does the following:
-the Growing New Farmers program to partner farming apprentices with farming mentors (which I helped pilot last year). We currently have three Teaching Assistants, four full-time apprentices, and 15 part-time apprentices. See a pic below…
-the New and Beginning Farmers program to work with farmers that have farmed 10 years or less receive statewide trainings.
-the Fresh on the Menu program to connect Chefs, Farmers, Producers, and the general public.
– the Growers Group program to host farm tours, guest speakers, and networking for local growers.
– Other fun and exciting farm related things!!
So what the heck have I been doing in the last few months besides working (because of course, I love a good juggling act).
Here is a short video that was produced about the Bogarden this month by a woman named Melanie Creech that did a great job:
There is also another news story style video as well:
As far as life on the home-front, Daniel and I have been using what little free time we have to start our own little homestead. We have tilled a large plot of 7 rows and planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, squash, watermelon, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, onions, and okra. We put up a fence to stop the dogs from doing their own “tilling” and unwanted fertilizing and planted some perennials out-front. Dan scavenged some bricks from the yard and dug a nice little fire pit for us. Using mostly salvaged materials we have been making slow and steady process on our chicken coop… which is turning into high-end avian housing for a small flock of upscale chickens. As usual, I have my ridiculously large collection of potted flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees scatter throughout the property. The compost bin that Dan made from salvaged wood is currently hosting some gloriously rich looking black gold.
So overall… life has been busy and will continue to be busy… at least now I can have more time for play. And sleep, yes, sleep.
Here is the job announcement:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Lowcountry Local First <Lowcountry_Local_First@mail.
Date: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Subject: LLF Announces new Director of Sustainable Agriculture
Nikki Seibert new Director of Sustainable Agriculture for LLF!
As things are growing all over the Lowcountry so are we! We are excited to announce that Nikki Seibert will be joining us at Lowcountry Local First as the Director of our Sustainable Agriculture Program, Farm Fresh Food!
As many of you know LLF has been working in this area since our inception partnering with SCDA to promote “Fresh on the Menu” by reaching out to those restaurants looking to source local food and farmers seeking new markets.
Nikki has played an integral role with the LLF team over the past year and half when piloting our Growing New Farmers Program and our online market Farm Fresh Market. Nikki has participated as an apprentice in our program and then gone on to lead Fields to Families as their Executive Director. Her ability to build community is apparent in what she has already accomplished with the Bogarden and the Holy City Bike Co-op. We know that her professionalism and desire for excellence make her the perfect choice for sustaining and building on our current programming.
Nikki will be joining us starting April 18th please join me in welcoming her to the team!
Nikki Seibert is a passionate local leader in the environmental and social justice movements in the Lowcountry whose diverse experience has allowed her to initiate significant change.
With a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and several years working in Environmental Education and Outreach, she moved to Charleston in 2007 to work for Habitat for Humanity as an AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader. After her service year, she developed an award winning green building program for Sea Island Habitat that gained local and regional recognition beyond just the construction changes but the homeowner education, community outreach, and staff trainings. During this time, she also completed her Masters of Environmental Studies at the College of Charleston, ran the campus’s recycling program, wrote and reported for The Digitel, and blogged about her car-free lifestyle. After the completion of her Masters, she continued working for Habitat but also assisted Charleston County Human Services Commission in the development of their Housing program as a part-time case worker. In 2010, she joined three friends in the creation of the Bogarden community garden on the corner of Bogard and Rutledge Ave which received a City of Charleston Community Pride Award.
The above efforts earned her the Dana Beach Award, the Leadership in Sustainability Award, the Outstanding Graduate Student Award, the Carolina Recycling Association “Behind the Scenes” Award, and a Post and Courier High Profile.
When the LLF Growing New Farmers program was announced, Nikki immediately saw her opportunity to turn her lifetime hobby of working with gardens into a career shift. Her time as a farming apprentice exposed her to all of the elements of the local food system and ultimately led to her position as the Director for Fields to Families.
She is excited for the opportunity to focus her attention on the Sustainable Agriculture program for Lowcountry Local First and is excited to continue its success!
you never cease to inspire me. your hard work, dedication, passion and love radiate through your projects and are infectious to your relationships. I'm so proud of what you have accomplished and I'm excited to hear about all the great work that is to come with your new position. congratulations.
Congratulations, Nikki! So excited for you. I know it has been a hard road, but look at what you have accomplished. Keep breathing and believing!
Nikki, you are truly inspiring! What you're doing really does make a difference and it so meaningful! Keep fighting the good fight and know you always have a place to stay in Asheville!!! XO Sarah