Why did you get into farming?
I was the publisher and editor of a weekly newspaper in Currituck at the time, and I decided I needed a hobby. I wanted something to get me away from the computer and get me outside where I could walk around.
What do you like about farming?
My late sister and I got into farming to do what I’m doing now: to teach people and to feed people. I want to teach people to be self-sufficient. I’m diabetic, so that’s another reason I got into farming. I was concerned about what I was eating, especially the chemicals often used in farming. I’m also drawn to wildlife on the farm. We often see bald eagles, great heron, ospreys — even the occasional bear. A lot of times, I leave here, get home, eat dinner, go out at night and sometimes work until 1 a.m. It’s not tiring at all, and my blood sugar is lower. It’s therapy.
Do you see any connection between programming and farming?
The projects I see here can appear overwhelming. Running a farm can be overwhelming. I break things down into steps. That’s what a systems analyst does. I like planting a seed and seeing the end product. That can be a vegetable. Or it can be planting a seed of knowledge in a co-worker and stimulating it to grow, or nurturing a strong work ethic in kids who come to work on the farm.
What do you like about your job at EVMS?
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still show up to work here. I love working at EVMS. I love the people. I love what we do. I tell people, “I’m not a doctor, but I help make them.” We don’t interact with the students a lot, but if they have problems, I go out of my way to help them because they’re the reason we’re here.