Interview with #gardenchat Host – Bren Haas

Bren in the dome 2016

This part of a series of interviews where I talk passionate gardeners about why they love growing their own food. I want share people love hopefully that inspires you. Its People Enjoying Agriculture, what we are about at the pea project.

Hey all, I wanted to welcome you to a the first of many interview I will be conducting with fellow gardeners. I want to share how other people are enjoying agriculture to hopefully inspire you to enjoy it as well.

Introducing the Interviewee

Meet Bren. I connected with her a year ago as part of a weekly twitter chat/party called #gardenchat. It’s a great community of passionate people. I try to drop into the chat whenever I can on Monday nights at 9pm, eastern time. Bren is the host of these chats and always does a wonderful job. So she was high on my list of interview subjects.

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

Well.. where do I begin! I was born and raised most of my life in the “awesome state” (please note quotations added by me a Michigander, haha) of Ohio. Fortunate enough to have parents who were very active outdoors so I get to spend most of my time growing up outside. I never dreamed I’d be where I’m today – living in the country ( zone 5b Ohio) and sharing globally about creative ways to live healthier and happier in a home & garden. Passionate about growing my own edible gardens, maintaining landscapes for family and sharing the adventures online year-round. No stranger to growing year-round thanks to my greenhouse we built in 2003 and in 2015 building a 20′ Geodesic Bio Dome in the back meadow on our property. Passionate about connecting with others using the latest technology is what lead me to building #gardenchat Network.

Check out her About me page

2. What do you personally enjoy the most about agriculture?

One of the things I love most about agriculture is being able to take a seed and watch it grow into something healthy that you can bring to the table. Its exciting to be a part of today’s agriculture because of all the amazing products we have that are easy to access. Social media plays a role in this : I live out in the country surrounded by traditional farmers while I’m able to connect online with people like an engineer I recently collaborated with to help put together the ALTIFARM. (( I hope it comes to the USA… it is really cool and allows ANYONE to grow year-round in their home. JUST LOOK at mine : Its also very exciting to see all the research surrounding the industry making it possible to grow more crops. There are so many great breeders out there traveling the world to find seeds to bring back to USA to share with us! (( I could go on and on about how awesome I think this is and how LUCKY we are!!))

squash, tomatoes and marigolds in the big garden at sunset.

3. What do you like to grow?

What do I like to grow … EVERYTHING I can get my hands on. I’m addicted to trying to grow lots of things that are out of my ‘zone’ – I’m kind of a rebel when it comes to that! My kumquat, lemon, lime that produce yearly in my Ohio garden are treasures. I’m super proud of all the new varieties of dahlias I’m growing after being scared of them when I first saw them at a small garden center I worked at in 2004. Microgreens indoors under LED lights, heirloom zinnia and marigolds from seed in my large cut flower garden I like to call my flower farm!

eggplant

4. What have you grown that you never would be able to find in a grocery store?

#1 Microgreens
#2 kumquats
#3 meatball eggplant

Just to name a few!

5. What advice would you give to people who aren’t growing their own food yet?

JUST DO IT!!! What is holding you back? The biggest excuse I hear is they don’t have space – maybe they are in an apartment or have a small patio. I say : seeds, LED light and a little love! You can even start sprouts in a canning jar on your kitchen counter to enjoy in a few short weeks. Connect with me at BrenHaas.com and I’ll show you how it is done!

My Takeaways

This is where I talk about what I got out of the interview and what excites me
She grows kumquats in Ohio! That is amazing. It’s amazing what you can do with the right equipment and resources. Citrus is not even out of reach even when you live in a non-citrus growing region. I love that she doesn’t let seasons confine here. She is year around, 24/7/365. And her love for it as very evident. Growing your own food is a labor of love that I want more of us to take up. It takes you places (like Ohio grown kumquats) that the grocery store could never do.