Hull of a House

Meet the Staff: Farmer Ryan

link to video and article from Sowing Seeds of Change in Chicago

Another fascinating staff member for you to meet: Ryan!  Ryan might have the most unique job among us as Hull-House Farmer-in-Residence.  He tends to our 1/2 acre organic, heirloom farm with great care and experience.  Come visit him at the SE corner of Halsted and Taylor Street.

Interested in volunteering at the farm?  Contact Kelly Saulsberry at ksuzanne [at] uic [dot] edu

What are you currently working on at the Hull-House Museum?

I am working on building the soil at the farm for better yield and healthier plants. Planting a lot of potatoes, onions and carrots – good soup vegetables that keep well.

What do you like about this work?

I love working outside and growing plants, its my dream job.

What are the challenges?

Developing the patience and diligence for work that doesn’t wait for you and can at times be very monotonous, but nonetheless rewarding. Kind of a “reap what you sow” scenario.

Name a previous experience that has helped to prepare you for these tasks.

I first developed a love for the tempo of gardening as a student employee at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, working mostly with New Zealand plants. Then spent 7 months with Maya herbalists in Belize and Guatemala, where I learned to appreciate more the “souls” of plants and energetic relationships that one can develop with them. Also, 3 summers working on a small 2 acre organic farm in Door County, WI taught me the basics of organic farming.

What do you do when you aren’t hard at work?

Usually thinking about work…lol, but I enjoy spending as much time on the lake the with my dog, Muttley Q. Barksdale (reading, sailing, mid day siesta from the farm…), watching a good foreign film, board games after a good dinner party.

What is your all-time favorite museum?

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, various Maya ruins which are in a way museums (Palenque, Calakmul, Copan are the most epic).

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?

Depends on the season (Oregon Giant Snow Pea in Spring, Nyagous Tomato in Summer, Lacinato Kale in Fall, and German Hard Neck garlic in Winter (planted in Winter)

Hull-House Farm, summer 2009