The Growing Season: Simple Abundance Farm

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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!

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Being Extra Efficient: Throwing A Low-Key, Super Fun Baby Shower

When you haven’t seen your sister for ten months, and then you have an opportunity to be together for a few days, you want to keep things low-key and also fully celebrational. Fully love by actively ignoring any stressy feels. When they pop up, tell them, “Hi. It’s good to see you but I’m a little busy right now. I’d love to meet up with you when I’m finished.” And in this you wait them out because stressy feels are very impatient and often run along to something else rather quickly.  You love the people that she loves, you always offer another cup of coffee, and you try not to be stingy with your time.

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When your sister, who you haven’t seen in ten months, is due to have a child soon, you throw her a party because as much as you celebrate this little guy, you want to offer the chance for others to ooh and ahh over his life, too. You want to make sure that you don’t get too plan-y about it the way you always do in a way that can tend to suck the fun out of it. You have to plan around your obsessive nature to over-plan about these things. It’s almost silly, right?

 


If I may toot my own horn just a tiny bit about the whole thing, I threw a lovely baby shower. Here’s the reason that I feel comfortable bragging on myself about it—it’s all a little tongue-in-cheek because I truly didn’t do much at all. That was the beauty of it all.

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Allow me to offer you insight on how to throw a low-stress party. Now, I can’t promise that this will always work for you the way it did for me but, you know, thoughts and prayers and the whole nine. There are three main steps that I created and followed when creating this event.

Find a location: Because most of the people that we were inviting to the shower were all from the same nearby town, I decided that I wouldn’t make anyone drive to my house for the event. Not having this in my home probably cut the stress levels by about 70%, to be honest.
One of the most gorgeous spaces in Hutchinson, KS is Bluebird Books on South Main Street and I knew they had a back room with chairs and tables that would make a super fun, come-and-go vibe. So this was the first place that I wanted to check out—numero uno on my list. I was willing to spend some money but I didn’t want to blow my whole budget on a location—after all, we would need decorations, food and presents, too! Well… without getting too brass tacks about it, suffice it to say that the room rental for what we needed was well below budget. Because of that, I decided to keep all of our business in the store. Not only did this keep things super easy on my end, but I got to use my dollars to support a very cool, local, woman owned business. Also, because this place is so beautifully designed and decorated, there was no way I could have possibly added decorations.

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There’s a café attached to Bluebird that we used to take care of our treats. We weren’t planning on too many people so we asked for two different things that didn’t involve any plates or forks—lemon bars (my personal favorite) and these luxe peanut butter brownie bars covered in chocolate. I also ordered coffee and water for everyone to drink. Melanie went above and beyond—she made up a lovely table for the treats and beverages and was super easy to work with.

Send out some low-key invitations: Look, low key doesn’t mean that they have to be lame. I discovered this very cool site called Paperless Press and I was able to send out the most gorgeous e-invitations! Because of the design that I chose, I did have to pay about $6 but you can easily send out some incredible invites completely free. This site is also great because it makes it easy to link a gift registry, manages your RSVP list, and lets guests leave comments on the wall. It also prompted you to send out and RSVP reminder if you wanted to. It was all around very helpful!

I don’t get paid for you clicking on that link or anything—I just really liked it. I’m sure that there are other places that send inexpensive e-vites, too. I have a friend who used Minted for her e-vites and has always had some really good ones.

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And thirdly and most importantly, do your very best to mind your own business: this is hard for me because I’m a natural born peacekeeper and a helper. I make everyone’s business my business and if someone isn’t having the time of their very life, I make that my responsibility. But it’s not my responsibility. If there’s guest drama. If someone wishes we had different snacks. If someone looks a little bit bored… these things are not me-problems. One of the greatest and most lasting things that therapy has taught me is that other people’s feelings are not my responsibility. So while peacekeeping and helping are my default states—those personality attributes can sometimes suck the fun out of events for me. Even events that I’m simply attending. I want everyone to have a full drink and not a care in the world. But I can really only help with half of that. Accepting this and laying down the idea of perfection in every area is key to not only enjoying yourself but putting out a calm-vibe to everyone else in attendance.

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Like I said, it was very simple and low-key but it still felt so, so special. I really believe that things can be easy and special at the same time. It takes just as much energy to craft an ordinary email as it does to enter in the details of a beautiful e-vite, for example. In the same way, it takes just as much effort to make a box of macaroni and cheese as it does to make rigatoni and pesto—it looks a little bit fancier, it feels a little more special, but it’s just as easy. This is something that I love to keep in mind when I want something to be exceptional but I don’t really have the time or energy to go nuts.

What are some areas where you make a point to act efficiently while still keeping things just a little extra?

XOXO, Lib

Page 48: A Birthday Party at Hatch Studios

I’ve made a very intentional point to stop saying, “We should hang out sometime” to people that I have no intention of hanging out with. I’d say for the past year and a half or so I’ve done a pretty good job of not tacking that statement onto the end of a conversation that I’m trying desperately to get out of. It’s an easy way to end the conversation right now but it doesn’t serve our future selves. Because you’re just going to have to deal with it again. And we’re just going to have to say, “we should get together,” again. Forever and ever. amen

Life tip:
The best way of ending those conversations? “Hey, it was really good to run into you, today. Have a good one.” Period.


I’ve been working part-time for Hatch Studios in Hutchinson, Kansas for the past four months or so. Hatch is a studio devoted to providing space for people in the community to create art. I’ve been a fan/ patron of Hatch since they opened their doors. I love the whole idea and vibe of the place. And one day I reached out to Lacey, the owner, and told her that I believe in her work and listed off all my skills and asked her if she had any need for me. And lucky, lucky me, she said yes.

My work is all done online. I believe the job title that we settled on was “Virtual Assistant” and I answer emails and help people to plan their parties. But eventually the feelings of jealousy caught up to me. I was envious of everyone else’s parties and decided to just throw my own. So, I hope this doesn’t come off as a marketing ploy but really I just want to give you an idea of what a night at Hatch is like.

I reached out via text message and Facebook and real life to some local people that I like a lot—people to whom I have sincerely said “we should hang out more/ for the first time ever in real life!” As I mentioned before, my birthday is this week. So I used it as an excuse to get a lot of random people together. People that I have only known on the internet, people that I have known in real life but admire, people to whom I am related but we don’t see each other enough, people that I see all the time and can’t get enough of. I set a time and a date and most people said “sure!” And most people were able to make it and it turned out to be so much fun.

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So I booked a Wine and Paint class for last Friday night with all of my friends. I instructed everyone to bring whatever they wanted to drink. I brought cupcakes. Some people brought presents. They sang happy birthday to me—okay, this was officially a birthday party and not just an excuse to get rad people all into the same room.

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Lacey taught our class and it always strikes me what an incredible teacher she is. She’s so good at identifying potential problems and helping us to avoid them, and providing a lot of information without getting too overwhelming. She’s also really, really, patient. This is probably her most mesmerizing talent. Even when, in the middle of painting, I reminded everyone that there were cupcakes if they wanted one and it ended up turning into a snack break, she didn’t even seem annoyed. If the tables had been turned, I would have been giving so much side-eye at me.

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So we walked in, the tables were all set up with easels, water cups, the necessary brushes and a pallet. We got to choose any colors that we wanted, which means that even though we’re all painting the same picture, everyone’s finished product ends up looking so different and full of personality. Everyone grabbed whatever they wanted to drink and we got to work. Lacey said some very nice things about me and then walked us, step-by-step through how to awesomely execute our painting. It took about 2 hours and in the end, everyone had a gorgeous painting to hang in their home.

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A couple of life lessons that I learned through this experience:
1. It’s natural to really hate what’s happening on your canvas at the time that it’s happening. Through out the whole night, someone (or three or four someones) was saying, “I don’t know about this…” or “oh, no! I’ve definitely ruined this!” But in the end, you have to just keep going with it. Which leads to life lesson number two.
2. Trust the process. Understand that you’re not going to start with a masterpiece. You’re going to utilize a relatively messy method to create a masterpiece and there’s a lot of pride in that.
3. Know when to leave it alone. Otherwise something that could have been lovely is going to result in a big, conjumbled mess just because you couldn’t help yourself from fixing meddling.
4. We’re all going to make it through, in the end, and we’ll have something colorful to show for it. There will also be cupcakes.

So thanks to my friends who came to this fun night. And thanks to Hatch for having us. And thanks, other people, for reading this and for leaving nice comments.

xoxo, lib.