Click here to donate
About us


Three-Year Apprenticeship
by Jes Pearce

Ecology Action Headquarters

Jes in the Common Ground Mini-Farm garden.

Jes Pearce is a 3-year apprentice from Catonsville MD who has been working at the Common Ground Mini-Farm since June of 2013.

I really fell in love with being outside while working on a trail conservation crew as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Oregon. We would spend up to two weeks working and living in wilderness areas. This job was tough and, in turn, incredibly rewarding, and when my term ended I knew I needed to stay outdoors.

This led me to work on organic farms in Hawaii with WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In Hawaii I fell in love after only a month. I knew farming was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and how I would make a contribution to the world. However, I realized quickly that in order to really learn how to farm, I had to commit to a piece of land, yet I wasn't quite finished with my adventures.

I went on to lead youth trail crews, did rock climbing and mountaineering, and went on a bicycle tour from Seattle WA to Tucson AZ, volunteering on farms along the way. Finally I worked for a few months on farms in Costa Rica.

When I was in Hawaii, I volunteered with a couple who had restored a conventional pineapple farm into a thriving GB mini-farm. They were attempting to eat and make an income off the land as well as saving seed in order to develop varieties that would thrive in the heat. Their goal was to create a sustainable Kauai. They were inspirational and helped root GB principles in my mind. So when I stumbled upon the apprenticeship program at Ecology Action online, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. I sent in my cover letter and resumé, and about a month later I was driving across the country to start my new life growing soil, growing people, and growing people who grow soil.

At the mini-farm, I am focused on building a stronger relationship between Ecology Action and the local community. I am working with soil organic matter, growing fruit, and eating a GROW BIOINTENSIVE diet. I am inspired by the idea that growing plants is injecting life into the soil.

What I love about gardening is working within a living system. A garden is a complex life force that we have the privilege to work with in partnership. It requires a lot of respect, creativity, flexibility, and humility. I must agree with Alan Chadwick when he said, "It is not the gardener that makes the garden. It is the garden that makes the gardener."

I plan to keep on farming. When I think of the future, I think of this quote by Howard Thurman: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."


top | Newsletter Home | Article Index | Archive

Please donate $40 to our 40th Anniversary Fundraiser! Click here to donate!