Meet Heidi Aspen Lauckhardt-Rhoades
Friends & Farmers Board Member
Three years ago I took an about face that changed the trajectory of life for me and my family. In June of 2015, my children and I (and cat at the time), boarded our new-to-us 2010 Subaru and turned the nose of our ship northbound, leaving my childhood home of Palm Beach County, Florida behind. Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, wrote about her similar experience leaving the Sunbelt for Virginia in a move destined to improve the quality of life for her family as well as lessen the burden of their carrying capacity on an overpopulated and fragile ecosystem; I couldn’t identify with those pages more.
Our life three years after arriving on a sticky and sun-drenched evening has manifested into the best period of my life. I believe that Central Pennsylvania is the Land of Opportunity for anyone that is passionate or even curious about the Terroir Revolution. It really CAN BE DONE here in our region. We are so fortunate to live in a place with plenty of elbow room and natural resources. This place, terroir, is a vortex for innovation; there is a lot of brainpower here and the collaborative spirit is anthropological; the barn raising spirit is pervasive in both Amish and English communities. People here want to help, want to come into alliance and get along and help each other out. I have never experienced such a kinder way of life. It is natural and easy to work together and build.
I am currently working as the Market Manager for the Pine Grove Mills Farmers Market, the first of its kind in the area. Our market is comprised of mostly first time producers; individuals and families of various ages and stages in their lives are implementing their dreams for themselves; giving enterprise a go and boldly living in alignment with their values of environmental stewardship, animal welfare, self-reliance through cooperation, and serving as models for others.
My background is a patchwork of land management, community outreach, wellness, maritime, freelance and education. After an unforeseen layoff in November, 2017 I decided to dig deep and follow my desire towards agriculture, food production and sustainable economic development. With that intention set into motion, the momentum surge has been remarkable and my life’s degree of satisfaction is testimony to “following one’s bliss”.
As a Friends and Farmers Board member I plan to assist in the human relations aspect of our organization; introducing more of our community to Friends and Farmers through novel means; connecting our customers with our producers, connecting producers with other producers; connecting businesses with our organization and developing educational opportunities (incubation) for people interested in local [food] economy. A healthy community that is sustainable and attractive to growth is built upon relationships, trade and respect. With the far-reaching implications that food economies have on health, environment and wellness, one may well argue that building out long-term sustainable, and socially inclusive methods of production and distributions is a must for community development. I believe being a part of Friends and Farmers is a powerful advocacy tool that will help shape the well being of our region’s future and serve as an example for other national regions as well.