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Meet Jeremy Samson of Cultivate Together in Anaheim and Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Samson.

Jeremy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Maine with a large garden but didn’t truly appreciate the value of growing your own food. After separating from the Navy about 12 years ago, I started using gardening as therapy for my anger issues. I realized how much better I felt when I was spending time in the garden, taking care of plants, and eating the food I was growing. After learning more about our food system, I decided to help others experience the same benefits I had from gardening and becoming reconnected to our food and environment. There have been a lot of moments and people that have guided and inspired me, but most of all it comes down to working locally and showing up to do the work.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Anything related to agriculture is a bumpy road. I could throw a bunch of statistics at you, but none of them are optimistic for farmers. When you couple a lack of food literacy with the cost of land in urban areas, it makes it very difficult to make changes. I think the biggest challenge is the financial one: How do you do something you know is important and beneficial for your community when no one is willing or able to pay you enough money to do it? The sad part is that the people that need quality food and education the most are usually the least able to afford it. For us doing the work, we have multiple jobs. We volunteer A LOT. And we do it because it is rewarding, and we know that it needs to be done, even if not everyone recognizes the value.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Cultivate Together story. Tell us more about the business.
Cultivate Together started as a partnership between 2 for-profit landscaping businesses as a way to start farming a space too big for us to handle alone. We quickly transitioned to a non-profit in order to work with our community and have focused on creating therapy gardens and urban farm spaces. Our niche in Orange County is tiny scale farm management and farmer training. We approach our farming practices from a regenerative and agroecology perspective, finding balance with the environment and letting nature do most of the work for us. We also prioritize systems that allow us the time to work our other jobs and limit the maintenance and resource demands of normal farms.

The thing I am most proud of is the friendships and partners we have made along the way. There is a quote by Masanobu Fukuoka that we really take to heart: “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am lucky to have found people to surround myself with that understand my passions, my goals, and encourage me to pursue the things that I believe are important despite the difficulty or cost.

You can’t do this without a community of supportive people. Literally, you can’t do what we do without a community to support it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos are from Cultivate Together

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