About the Farmers

Concrete Beet Farmers is a group of six young people, all college students or recent grads, who are excited about farming and ready to get their hands dirty.

Alex is from Northampton, Massachusetts and is now a junior at Macalester College.  From a young age he has been interested in getting dirty, staying dirty, and eating well.  After a year working on a large, diversified organic farm in California and the previous two summers working on a CSA farm near his hometown, he is excited to be diving into the urban agriculture world.  He wants to radically dismantle the corporate stronghold of our food system by providing fresh, local produce at an affordable price to local customers.  He wants to grow heirloom crops and save seeds to help return to a pre-Monsanto level of crop diversity.  When not farming, he studies ecology, plays saxophone, and likes to ponder the future of humanity and the universe-at-large.

Robin grew up on a sustainable sheep cheese farm in Putney, Vermont and spent many summers milking sheep and throwing hay bales.  Since leaving the farm, she builds upon her childhood experiences by studying biology at Macalester College and spending summers working on other farms and garden projects.  After graduation in May 2011 she plans to continue working on and building small farms.  Outside of farming and studying biology, she enjoys long runs and big meals.

Emily Hanson is a recent transplant to the Twin Cities. After spending the first 18 years of her life in a small town in New Hampshire, helping tending a big vegetable garden in the summers and spending every spare moment in the woods behind her house, she fled the coop and moved to Minnesota for college. As an Environmental Studies major and Geography minor at Macalester College, she studied a little of everything under the sun and gradually honed her interests. She wants to dedicate her life to creating resilient communities- through urban and rural sustainable agriculture, neighborhood skill sharing, alternative education, and all manner of working with her hands. She’s loved working with kids since she was just a kid herself, and loves the way they never fail to make her see the world in a new way.

Emily Engel is a native of the Twin Cities. She attended Kalamazoo College and then transferred back to a school closer to home. She is now a junior at Macalester College and is interested in food justice, sustainable agriculture systems, community building and linking these interests to her academic pursuits at Macalester. She’s interested in learning, exploring, meeting new people, reading, thunderstorms, cooking, drinking coffee, traveling, friends.

Eric grew up on a small Christmas tree and blueberry farm in Forest Lake, MN. He earned a degree in finance from the University of Minnesota in 2009 and now lives in Phillips. He’s interested in growing food, building community with friends and neighbors, cooking, community service, dancing, and experiencing other cultures. He’s active in his neighborhood of Ventura Village, and works with the Transition Town groups to build resilient communities.

With no gardening or farming experience at all, Dusty decided to get involved with the Concrete Beet Farmers because it is a tangible way to take action in the cause of his beliefs. He is aware that the interconnected, globalized, oil-based economy currently in place is unsustainable, and when this is combined with the fact that the planet faces an ecological crisis, the local production of food seems like a pretty good idea. He hopes that the Concrete Beets can connect with and serve the Phillip’s neighborhood in a way that builds the community. He is looking forward to learning more about growing food and developing relationships with the fellow members of Concrete Beet Farmers. Dusty is also an aspiring journalist and an avid listener of Democracy Now.


9 thoughts on “About the Farmers

  1. Emily it was great meeting you today and learning all about the mission at Concrete Beets. I can’t wait to hear from you about the possibility of farming that backyard!

  2. You guys are great! I was born in the Twin Cities, grew up in Wisconsin and am now doing very similar stuff out in Boulder, CO. When I head back north, Ill make sure to check out how you’re doing. Keep digging and growing wherever you can!
    If you are ever in Boulder, let me know!

  3. Congratulations and Good Luck to all of you urban farm kids. We’re thinking of y’all in the Concrete while we’re farmin’ out here in the beautiful Capay Valley. We had Fava Beans, English Peas and Sugar Snap Peas at the farmers market yesterday. Bet you’re really jealous! Lots of love from Full Belly Farm.

  4. Emily, talked to your mom today. congrats on graduation and the concrete beet farmers ….love it. Have fun in whatever you do. cindy Towle

  5. Emilio! My dear! I’m so excited to see you with a bunch of scruff-muffin farmers, growing delicious things! My neighbors are sharing their kale plants with me, and every time I pick them, I get the itch…

    Good job, dirty kids!

    and hey, tentative plans to head your way soooometime in the near future : )


  6. Glad to see you guys out there moving the urban farming thing! Are you growing using organic methods? I am also wondering about the soil quality on the site with the industry that was/is located in that part of the city, and how you are working with it. Hope to make it on at least one of your work days. All the best! I am a bigger supporter of these initiatives.

  7. I just wanted to say thanks from Great River School! It was awesome to hear about what you do, and I know that personally I am going to get involved in my neighborhood and find a CSA., because you guys made it look so fun! I can’t wait to be apart of a food community. Best of Luck to all of you, I hope you have a great summer and fall!

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