Sarah Kleeger's Bio
I was born and raised in the concrete jungle that is Southern California’s Orange County. As I grew older, I became increasingly disgusted with what I saw as a lifeless landscape and corresponding destructive ways of life. Something in me was aware that there were other ways to live, and I decided to pursue these as yet unknown-to-me avenues.
As soon as I graduated high school I relocated to greener pastures along the coast of Northern California, where I attended Humboldt State University. There I earned my BA in Political Science in 2001, focusing on Environmental Politics and the Sustainable Society. I also studied Appropriate Technology, learning hands-on ways to live, in the words of E.F. Schumacher, “small, simple, cheap, and nonviolent.”Throughout my years at the University, I thought I would pursue a career in International Development, helping people in the Global South to improve their lives. Mostly, though, I just wanted a productive, positive avenue out of a society that I had grown increasingly disillusioned by. During my last semester, I decided I would do better to focus my work on ways to improve and promote Life in my own country. I explored various routes to this end, including working with at-risk youth through the Leadership Education Adventure Program (more about LEAP is in Andrew’s bio) and directing an advocacy and educational program that works with Hmong refugees. I also involved myself in promoting literacy through participation in the formation of the Redwood Literacy Network, as well as advocating for women’s rights and reproductive freedoms as the co-chair of the Lane County Legislative Action Team for Planned Parenthood. I explored various social work type jobs, which gave me exposure to and training in the field of “youth development.” And, of course, I also tried my hand at organic farming. Something about getting my hands in the soil and eating fresh, beautiful, bioregional food resonated with me. I decided one morning while harvesting broccoli for the farmer’s market that this, finally, was it. I made up my mind that I would focus on growing food, ideally combining farming with working with youth. I began farming with Andrew in 2002 and have been in the fields of various farms in the Pacific Northwest ever since.
For the 2006 growing season, I was able to combine my affinity for working with youth and my passion for farming by accepting a position with Andrew as the Assistant Farm Coordinator at the Laurel Valley Educational Farm. The Educational Farm is a two acre field at Northwest Youth Corps, a Youth Development organization that houses an alternative high school, provides conservation jobs for teenagers, and runs a summer day camp for 11-15 year olds. The students at the high school and the summer camp youth spend many hours on the farm, reconnecting with their food supply, experientially learning about the many fruits and vegetables that grow in our bioregion.
I am excited to be a part of the Seed Ambassadors project because it enables me to improve and promote Life both in the US and abroad.