Once upon a time… there was a guy in Indiana who dreamed of being a farmer. He went to Purdue University (Boiler Up!) with a world-class agriculture program. Unfortunately ag didn’t offer viable career options, so he did the sensible thing and graduated with a business degree. His career path went in several directions from landscape business to healthcare technology professional. With farming always in his heart, he loved to landscape, garden and cook in his leisure time…
In 2016 Clint was a director in healthcare technology and on the side was dreaming of a “market garden”. (A market garden is a small dirt garden that supplies food for your family and local market.) I was happily been self-employed in sales and finance when suddenly I was called to a local CPA firm. “Called” as in my heart told me to do it but it definitely was not my dream job. But that’s where God introduced us to Bret & Cindy Bowlin who were clients of said CPA. It was truly providential. They lived right down the road from each other, we knew the same people and had been in the same organizations but we had never met. Knowing they were “urban farmers” and Clint wanted to farm, of course I needed to know what that was!
The summer of 2017 Clint & I visited Bret’s greenhouse and learned about ATL Urban Farms and Tower Gardens. We immediately understood the technology and saw a new vision. I could literally see the light bulbs flashing in Clint’s eyes like paparazzi. Seriously! Bret and Clint became fast friends and co-conspirators on our road to farmpreneurs.
So in November 2017 Clint formed Sweetwater Urban Farms and started building his own greenhouse. From scratch. With his own hands. It was super exciting and super hard. We still had regular jobs, two homes, a large family, etc. but we knew God was leading every step of the way. He soon gave us a vision to build greenhouses in mixed developments to grow food right where people live, work and play. Imagine every subdivision HOA includes a pool, tennis courts, playground and a greenhouse. Imagine every school, hospital, office park and industrial area growing fresh nutrient-dense greens right on site. No handling. No transportation expenses. No food safety risks. No food deserts. All fresh. All available. All the time. That’s the vision.
So what does this have to do with ATL Urban Farms? Good question.
As our plans were taking shape, Bret & Cindy’s journey was also taking a new direction. Bret’s Tower Garden expertise had made him a valued consultant with Tower Garden corporate and Tower Farms commercial division. They soon made the decision it was time to pass the ATL baton and believed we were the right people to take it. I won’t go into the details but know there was a lot of prayer involved. Above all else we knew God was leading us and with no gardening experience, no idea what I didn’t know, I said yes. There was only one criteria, Kim, who was working with Bret, had to come too. And she did!
In February 2018 I took over day-to-day operations of ATL Urban Farms. In March we moved into our own greenhouse. and in May (after tax season) I jumped into the deep end and began managing ATL full-time.
Every day has been a blessing. Some days more challenging than others. It’s an exciting adventure to learn to grow seedlings AND to grow myself. My mission is to be of service to help Tower Garden seedling customers and our JuicePlus+ family create opportunities for others, to support the Tower Garden community and, above all else, to trust my heart, be faithful to my calling during this season and love the people.
xoxo! Sheree 🙂
“Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.'” John 21:17
UPDATE 2 YEARS LATER:
Wow! What an adventure! Not an easy adventure but a challenging, are-you-kidding-me, I-dont-want-to-do-this-anymore, gratifying, fulfilling, growing adventure. I can’t believe it’s only been 2 years. In many ways it feels like I’ve never done anything else and in other ways it feels like I just started. Every day I still learn I have so much to learn. God created an amazing universe with earth, water and air to grow food to nourish the complexity of the human body. What a miracle that we can be a small part of the miracle of feeding the people. What a blessing.
#hugyourtower #howcanihelp #towertotable #tabletosoul #blessed #feedmysheep