I met Maggie maybe a year and a half ago? I saw her from across the circle at a local meetup for a Facebook group that we both happened to be a part of. From the minute she introduced herself I was so drawn to her. “Friendship crush” is the only phrase I’ve ever found to describe this feeling. Have you had this? The way she spoke about her husband (seriously, when I interviewed her for this piece, I asked her how long they’d been married and she said, “2 years 8 months 1 week 17 hours and 50 minutes!”), the organic farm they were dreaming of starting, and her passion for their Bahá’í faith just had me feeling like I needed to know this person more. And I definitely told her as much that day. It was a little embarrassing but I threw self consciousness to the wind and it paid off.
Since that first meeting, Maggie and Adam (her husband whom I did eventually meet) really did start that organic farm and they’ve added to their family with little baby Arlo who was born on New Year’s Day of 2017. I wanted to talk to you about the he story of Simple Abundance Farm and I was so grateful that Maggie was willing to let me interview her. But the story of the farm is a story about Maggie and Adam. So we’ll start there.
“I am grateful for every minute [Adam and I] get to spend together! We met and became friends in high school, playing folk music on the front porch of Adam’s parents’ house. But then didn’t start dating until I was a senior in college. We were together for a year until we were engaged and then during our engagement moved to Key West, Florida were we lived and worked for about a year until we were married there on July 26, 2014! I am so grateful for Adam, he is my most favorite person in the world! We are so blessed to have each other to experience life with and support each other in growing to be the best versions of ourselves.” So this feels like the kind of thing that most people have to say about their partners–but Adam and Maggie are so in love with and excited by one another. It’s the most genuine, non-gushy truth I could ever possibly vouch for. And I know it’s true because they are in love with and excited by almost every person that they encounter. I’ve seen this in action time and time again. The Pounds’ are people who demonstrate presence and appreciation everywhere they go.
After they were married, Adam and Maggie spent about three months traveling around the country–experiencing the way that other people live, dreaming about how they wanted to live, and sorting out how they’d spend their lives living out their values. During this time, they realized that they really wanted to experience organic farming. Why organic? “Organic farming encompassed many of the things we were both passionate about such as our love for the outdoors, being in a close relationship to the things that sustain and give us life, being stewards of the earth, knowing how and where our food comes from, the community that farming can create, etc.” One little hitch, though: Maggie told me that neither of them had ever had so much as a vegetable garden! So they sought advice and decided to apply for an internship on an organic farm.
That’s how they ended up in Carnation, Washington at Present Tense Farm–a four-acre organic vegetable farm. “[We were] working with the two farmers, and learning every aspect of the farm, such as seeding, planting, weeding, irrigation, harvesting, washing, working farmers markets, and so so so much more!” They interned there for about seven months and fell in love with it. They knew, for sure, that this was what they wanted to pursue when they moved back to Hutchinson, KS. Occasionally they, and other interns, would visit other farms to talk and learn from different perspectives. One day they were in another farmer’s home and they saw a sampler hanging on the wall–on it were stitched the words “simple abundance”. “From that moment, Adam and I knew this encompassed what we wanted our farm to convey.” And that’s where they got the name.
I was wondering what the very first steps towards making this dream a reality were and Maggie told me that it started with daydreaming. What if we all took our daydreams so seriously? They started looking at Google Earth images of Hutchinson, imagining where might be a good spot for their little organic, urban farm.
Their first season started in 2016 with Adam building shelves in their basement. They attached some growing lamps and connected a hose for watering and they were in business with micro greens! “While we grew a few vegetables outdoors in our front yard, most of last year’s sales were grown on the size of about a sheet and a half of plywood.” Last year, they sold three different types of micro greens at the Farmer’s Market. As a consumer of their product, I was super duper hooked on their radish and sunflower micro greens–tossing them into just about every salad I made last summer.
I asked Maggie what it is that keeps the passion fires burning for Simple Abundance. Her response was so beautiful I couldn’t possibly boil it down for you so here’s her word-for-word answer:
“Something I try to always remember is that we are spiritual beings having a material experience. I believe that our purpose here is to develop our spiritual selves, to nourish and strengthen our souls through the lives that we lead during our time on this earth. I try to view everything through this lens, which doesn’t always happen and is not always easy. Our goal with Simple Abundance farm is to remind ourselves and our community that if we are stewards of the earth and look for ways to live in harmony and balance with one another, then we can provide for each other and live in so much abundance. The quote ‘Live simply so that others may simply live,’ comes to mind. I think that Adam and I have found that feeling rich and nourished comes from a hard day’s work, from sharing a homegrown meal with family and friends, from holding our son while he experiences his first Kansas thunder storm, it comes from Adam playing his banjo while Arlo and I listen, and from sitting together by the fire in the evening under the stars. This is when we feel we are simply living in abundance.”
Spring is in full-swing and Simple Abundance has entered into its second season. As time goes on, I’m going to reach out to these guys a few more times to check in on how their growing season is going. This is part one, we’ll meet up with the Pounds Family in several weeks to see how things are progressing with their family and the farm.
In the meantime–are there any questions that you have for them?
This is the first installment in a brand new series called The Growing Season. The Growing Season is dedicated to the beginnings, middles, and maybe even ends of projects. When we start something new, we often have the ultimate goal in mind and want to rush through the sacred beginning and middle work. This series exists to celebrate the whole process–not just the end result.
Extra special thank you to Blue Muse Photography for supplying all of these photos!