I have always loved plants and tended them with great care. My first horticulture lessons came from my Mennonite babysitters, as I helped plant vegetable seedlings, pull weeds from the "truck patch," and store crops in the root cellar. Those farmers use sustainable methods, not because they're trendy, but because that is simply how farming is done in their community.
I continued learning and practicing gardening over the ensuing years. I hugged many trees and turned many compost piles. And my interest in horticulture retained avocation status during my first career as an economics professor. Focusing on labor, education, and econometrics, I taught hundreds of students, published research in top field journals, received over $600,000 in grant funding, earned tenure, and served as department chair. I will always be an economist, prizing efficiency, truly free markets, and rigorous research. I also care deeply about economic and social justice.
And what about plants? It's my personal mission to work for justice for the plants who comprise 83% of the biomass on our planet.
My work in academic economics required me to carefully and critically evaluate research. This skill have proven invaluable as I dissect competing claims about the environmental effects of common landscaping practices and products. I readily examine and integrate the results of research in plant science, arboriculture, environmental studies, and organic agriculture. Of course I understand the value of formal education. I have earned certification as a master gardener and advanced tree tender. I'm currently working toward ISA arborist certification. But I also understand the importance of self study. My background equipped me with a keen ability to learn well and quickly, whether instrumental variable quantile regressions or integrated pest management. And my experience as a labor economist means that I know what best HR practices are and I know how to most effectively share my knowledge with my workers and clients.
With Eating for the Ecosystem, I combine my expertise in economics, professional horticulture, labor and human resources, design, education, empirical research, and management. I have created a company with many functions organized for a common goal: improve people-plant relations.