For most of his adult life, AJ worked with children and youth as dependents of the Juvenile Court and foster care. He spent 12 years working in residential treatment programs and group homes for severally emotionally disturbed children followed by 23 years in Child Protective Services. Throughout that time AJ was working away in his garden and started a nursery & landscaping business with a compact excavator, “Tonka” (the big shovel), learning about building ponds, water catchments and other permaculture designs.
As he became more involved in the local community he found himself the youngest person in the room at 55 years and struggled with the fact that his generation has left an environmental mess for future generations. In many of his meetings they’d find themselves asking the question, “where are the youth and how can we engage them”? Well, he found them alive, well, engaged and excited at a local Farmer’s Guild meeting. That’s when he got involved in the School of Adaptive Agriculture. He found that many of his skills working with organizational systems, administrative structure, communication skills and leadership skills were needed and readily transferrf to the growth of this critically important “new agrarian movement”.
For AJ, it is a relief and a pleasure to work with youth who are so committed, hard working, excited, willing and able to learn how to grow food while at the same time committed to restoring health to the environment, respecting nature as our primary teacher and thus saving the earth.