Farmer(s): Linda Hezel R.N., Ph.D Location: Kearney, MO Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 816-560-7878 Website, Facebook, Instagram Apprenticeship opportunities: Volunteer (private tutoring and a share of farm bounty in exchange for labor), flexible days and times
Begun in 1993 with the conviction that family health and soil health are inextricably linked, the Prairie Birthday Farm (PBF) farmscape has been progressively designed to mimic nature in food production and to reconstruct native ecosystems necessary for balance and synergy among plants, animals, and humans. Native plants in food production offer adaptability to local soil and climate, maintenance of healthy and diverse ecosystems, and the conservation and propagation of local flora. Consequently, PBF remains productive despite severe droughts and other unpredictable climate change-driven weather patterns.
Dr. Hezel’s community recognition is demonstrated by: receipt of the first annual John Kaiahua Mentorship Award from CultivateKC; the Missouri Native Plant Society, Erna Eisendrath Memorial Education Award and as an invited panelist for National Public Radio’s “Going There – How We Eat”. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Missouri Prairie Foundation Journal, Feast Magazine – Midwest, Feast TV, Northland Lifestyle Magazine, American Journal of Nursing, the Kansas City Star, and more. She has a master’s degree in community health nursing and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She strives to find real solutions to regenerate ecosystems while producing nutrient dense food.
The Farm products and experiences include: flowers (36+), fruits (25+), herbs (40+), and vegetables (15+); native plants: 140+ (forbes, grasses, bushes, vines & trees/shrubs); eggs; honey; and art: photographs & tablescapes; research; information & experience; ecosystem services; aesthetic wealth; and nature immersion.
Production practices demonstrate some of the principles of agroforestry, sustainable, permaculture, and biomimicry farming. Perennial polycultures (pasture, prairie, trees/shrubs) are never tilled. No synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides are used.
Farm produce is sold to area residents and area chefs. Hundreds of pounds vegetables, fruits (including wild, heritage, and Slow Food Ark of Taste varieties), herbs, and edible flowers are available February - November without season extension structures.
Several hundred volunteers and learners interested in the concepts operationalized by the Farm have taken tours, participated in 1-3 day “immersion” experiences, and engaged in daily and seasonal rhythms of farm regeneration work. Learning activities may be physically, emotionally, and intellectually challenging. The learner and Linda work elbow to elbow during mutually agreed upon days and times. Opportunities abound to gain tangible skills, both technical and interpersonal, to support successful employment in regenerative agriculture, and for eventual management of an owned operation.