| creative women with a conscience | Clare Baez from 'Rogue Carrots'. Urban farmer, mother, sustainability advocate, thrift shopper and tiny home owner.
urban farm. zero waste policy. community building goals. creating an intentionally sustainable home. every day with thought and care.
This is how Rogue Carrots describe their mission, and well, it doesn't get much better than that now, does it? Clare Baez is one piece of the pie when it comes to the 'Rogue carrots' business. A family run urban farm which takes place in the front yard of their home in Bloomington, Illinois. Not only will you find home grown, local produce in Clare's front yard, but also a renovated school bus - turned tiny home - in the driveway from their off grid living days and signs saying 'free basil', 'organic' and 'plants for sale'...
Read more about Clare's story below.
Model: Clare Báez @roguecarrots
Creative Direction + Styling + Wardrobe: Emily Baynard @emmirocreative
H+M: Kara Donaldson @karamichelle116
Photography: Lewis Sisters Photography in Bloomington, IL @lewissisters
Wardrobe+Props: Blacklist Vintage in Minneapolis, MN; Arc's Value Village in Bloomington, MN; Mission Mart in Bloomington, IL; Second Time Around in Chicago, IL; About Books in Bloomington, IL; Furniture Lounge in Champaign, IL and model's own personal secondhand or ethically-made collection.
What motivated you to live in a tiny home?
My husband's family is from Paraguay in South America, his father grew up there but he lives over here now. After we got married, we realised very quickly we didn't do things in a very traditional way. We didn't want conventional jobs and we didn't want to live a conventional life - that just wasn't the path for us. Armando's family still lived in Paraguay so we thought we'd quit our jobs and go live there for a while, we decided to stay for two months. They still live in a developing country, on a farm, and they've only just introduced indoor plumbing, so it's only very recent. Everything still operates through a barter system, his grandma milks cows in the morning and trades that for meat and they grow their own vegetables on the farm. We fell in love with that kind of lifestyle right away. It was so satisfying to do those more simple things that we seem to have forgotten to do - you felt so good at the end of the day.
So that's how we started on this path of living a sustainable life. Then in 2013, we went overseas and worked on farms all around Ireland with our oldest son Leo who was one at the time. At one of the farms in Northern Ireland we stayed in a converted horse trailer. It was a two-room trailer, and this was our very first experience living in a tiny home.
When we came back to the U.S, we were even more interested in living a sustainable life and just living differently. By this stage we had one child and we really wanted him to see that there were different ways to live; there wasn't this one prescribed formula. We then got regular jobs, lived in an apartment and Armando started to look at these things called tiny homes; and he said, 'do you want to buy an old school bus and turn it into a home?' and I was like, 'yeah sure, why not?!'
So we bought one and had it for two years before we even lived in it. We had it in storage after we bought it because we wanted to buy land first so that we could then go on to live in it. But we had a second child, Finnegan, and thought that'd be really difficult. Buying land where we live [Bloomington, Illinois] is extremely expensive, because the land is super fertile and really good to grow on. Because land is mostly in commercial farming areas, it’s hard to start small scale farming because of all the laws. So it wasn't really feasible for us to pursue and chase that. We had to think of another alternative for the bus, because ultimately what we wanted, was to really challenge ourselves, and our current way of life. So then we quit our jobs for the third time.
What kind of jobs were you both doing in between the travelling?
I've worked at the same library for seven years on and off, and I had taken a leave of absence to do the traveling adventures. Armando is a mechanic by trade for Mercedes Benz so he did work surrounding that; then when he went back to school he was a server at a restaurant, then took a marketing job for a car dealership and he did odd jobs here and there and helped at farms as well.
Did you study at college?
I did, I have a four year degree inB.A. In Communication.
Do you think this direction toward a sustainable and community driven lifestyle came through meeting your partner whose family live on a farm. Or is it something that has always been pushed through a value-based system growing up?
Our parents raised my siblings and I to be very respectful of people, nature, the earth and animals in general, and to have a loving and giving relationship with other people and things. The community based goals we've established, have come into play recently; probably since we've come back from travelling. We were able to experience firsthand that if you put yourself out there, be a giving person, try new things and be adventurous, your path just opens up to so many opportunities and new people. We both grew up in this town where we live now, and when we got back we realised we wanted to start something here that was going to create community. We're always looking for community; we’ve travelled the US as well and visited a lot of intentional communities where people are trying to live in certain ways and who are intentional about their decisions and their lives, and we really loved that aspect and wanted to try and do that here at home and create those relationships. That's why now at home we don't have pricing with our farm; we have an honour system. We want produce to be available to everyone, so you pay what you want and you take what you need. By doing this, it creates those relationships and connections. We have free herbs outside our house because we want people to stop and have access to really good food and we also want them to have access to relationships; and we want to create connections with our neighbours and family. So this only came into play recently.
So tell me more about what happened after you had your bus in storage for two years?
We finally found a farm that we really agreed with. The farmer was Henry Brockman, and he'd been organically farming for 20 years, his farm was a small scale organic farm out in the country. When it comes to farming, Henry is of the mind that you really try and work with mother nature and not force things to grow when they shouldn't be. He also diversifies quite a bit with his farming, which is what we do with 'Rogue Carrots'. Because we live in the city now we're more likely to get a cat or squirrel eating our crops, it's not that big of a deal though when it happens, because we've got twenty other things growing at the one time. So we've really taken on Henry's approach, we really wanted to learn from him. We also don't use herbicides or pesticides at all with our farming.
So,we signed up to do a year long internship with him, but because we had a family, we needed a place to live. As part of the internship program, he offered some places for his interns to live. But we already had our bus, so all we really needed was a property to park it on. We asked Henry if we could park the bus on his property, and he agreed to it. It was kismet or something, as he also already had a hook up for water. The bus was fully equipped and ready for off grid living. To give you a bit of a break down of the bus there are four, fifty gallon water tanks on top of the bus, so it can hold quite a bit of water, there are solar panels on top of the bus as well, so you can power small appliances, then there are grey tanks underneath for your toilet system. So when we moved in it we hooked it up to water and turned the bathroom into a composting toilet. We parked it on the property and did a little bit of updating to the inside of the bus. We took out a lot of things and added a little bit more furniture so that four people could live in it. The original people who owned it were a couple, so there were only two of them in the bus - we set it up so that it'd be suitable for kids, and then we moved in. And we got rid of a lot of our stuff in the process!
When I thought about you living in a tiny home, I wondered how much you kept in storage, or at your parents' home and how much you threw away?
Mostly we got rid of things. We only kept some clothing on the bus, but when I was folding up my chunky winter sweaters, I said 'I'm going to miss you sweaters!' We ended up selling or getting rid of a lot of stuff. We kept some things in storage, in my mother-in-laws basement, but everything else was gone. It was hard to get rid of things, but afterwards, it was like.'man that felt really good...'
It's like this cathartic process, isn't it?!
It really is! You're getting rid of these things that are weighing down on you! And when you don't have them, you don't even miss them. If you don't live in a large home, you think, 'well I don't need to fill this room with stuff!'
So how old were your kids when you moved into the bus?
4 [Leo] and 1 [Finnegan].
So neither of them were school age when you moved into the bus?
Nope, neither of them were in school so we didn't need to worry about commuting to get them to school. Because we didn't need to worry about those things, the kids didn't mind at all, as long as we were all together, that was the main concern.
For awhile I thought about living off grid and on the bus from my point of view only; I'd think things like, 'how did I feel about living on the bus?'What did I see as a challenge? What do I see as a positive?' Then I changed my framework to think about it from their point of view; they got to run around and be outside all the time, and it didn't matter if they got dirty or if they were wild, there wasn't anything they couldn't touch or play with, and they had my undivided attention. So I thought, I bet they probably enjoyed that!!
I feel like that's the best parenting you could ever do…
I realised that both of our kids learnt how to walk when we were living out in the woods. They kind of just stumbled around outside all the time, and they kind of figured it out. Leo learnt to walk when we were in Ireland with WWOOF (world wide opportunities on organic farms) through fields, around fences and Finnegan learnt when we were on the farm just walking around the trees and the grass.
Do you feel you had support from your community; whether that be from your friends or family? Is living in a tiny home, off-grid something that is done often where you are?
No, its' definitely not something people do Illinois. It's more on the coast where people do these kinds of things; so on the east coast and the west coast. I live right in the middle of the U.S. They actually call it the 'Bible belt', so I live in more of a conservative, traditional community. Especially in Bloomington where I live, it's definitely a conservative community. My extended family, so my parents and my in-laws and my siblings, all supported us. They're always very supportive of us doing things. They may not understand it, and may not want to do this themselves, but they're supportive of us doing it.
Do you feel as though there was a stigma attached to doing what you did? Did friends question your motivations for doing this?
Absolutely. There were definitely people who thought it was weird, that was one challenge for me personally; not so much for Armando because he doesn't really care about what other people think. I feel as though I'm more susceptible to outside opinions, so I had a harder time letting go of that, but kept thinking, this is the right thing for my family, even though other people think it is crazy that we'd want to do this. I did feel sometimes people thought we were judging them or shunning a normal way of life; that by choosing an alternate way of life, we were saying what you're doing isn't the right way. We've never felt that way towards anyone, but I think they thought, well if they're going to live in this tiny home then they must think that my big house is too much or extravagant or we don't want to do it because its bad for the earth.
So people though that you were rejecting their way of living?
Yes, but it's quite ironic because sometimes when we lived in the bus, all I wanted to do was just live in a condo where someone took care of everything!!
What was one of the first challenges you faced living in the bus, off grid?
I look at my time on the bus from the perspective of a mother, so when we went into it we had two kids, Armando was working 12-14 hr days on the farm and the kids and I would help out and work as well, but mostly I was doing the mum thing. What I found most challenging for me, was living in such a tiny space with two other small people living in a tiny space with me. Being a parent in this small space meant things were kind of escalated...
Do you feel that was because there were no distractions? So you see everything as it happens without the external world and environment?
Very much so, that's a really good way to put it! We were very much unplugged, you know, we didn't have a TV and we haven't for a very long time. The kids didn't have a phone or an IPad, no distractions. So it was very much like we're really doing this, we're going to hang out all day and everything is happening in real time. You were just there with each other all the time, so there was this space issue. I remember Leo saying once, 'I want alone time and I said well I want alone time too, but we live in one room!'.
What did living like that - where you can't escape and you can't have the distractions - teach you both in the moment and reflecting back on it now?
Patience. I became much more of a patient person. And I realised that I'm never going to look back on the time in the bus and think, 'you know what, I really spent too much time with my family, or I paid too much attention and had too much fun with my kids outside'. I'm never going to think those things. So now looking back on it I realise you have to slow down and stop thinking about what you need to do in an hour, a day or a week. Be present and realise that those things will come when they come, and if it's not going to happen right now, there's no point thinking or worrying about them right now, because right now what I'm doing is being here with my family; be it planting garlic, or harvesting something, or playing outside in the dirt. So you have to be there in the moment and realise, if you let yourself enjoy it and let your mind turn off a little bit, it's really nice and it feels so good to hang out with whoever you're with and enjoy that time and really slow down. It's really putting into practice that whole slow living movement.
I feel like slow living is a term that gets thrown around so much right now, and it seems like it's such a subjective notion to where you're at in the world and where you're living in the world. And I think it's so interesting because it's like we need to unlearn all these habits and behaviours, and relearn, to go back to slow living.
It takes time and it takes skill. There are whole skill sets that are being forgotten and are getting relearned by people because we haven’t used them and we haven't needed to use them. When we were in Ireland I learnt how to whittle. When in my life would I have needed to learn how to whittle anything?! Now I love it and I can whittle a spoon. So you do actually need to relearn new skills and practices to engage in a slow life.
Now that you're not living in the bus, are those skills and practices in your day-to-day? Does living in a more urbanised environment require them?
We still use some of them, so all of the farming that we learnt, we use daily. We also still try and preserve food that we grow. I actually just made jam from rhubarb and aronia berries we picked. Things like that we still use. We learnt to do a lot of woodworking when we were in Ireland and we don't really do that now because we don't have a need for it. Although, before we needed to know how to do this because we had to learn how to build a teepee when we were out on the farms, but we don't really need that now.
But with the slow living aspect, we definitely still practice this. It's much harder where we live now compared to when we lived on the bus, because now its so easy to just turn on the iPad or say lets go shopping, or do something in town, or lets go out and eat somewhere. So it's much easier to fall into bad habits!
I often think, that if you can practice slow living amongst the noise and chaos of every day life, then that’s quite admirable. But then I also question and ask myself, 'what is the true essence of slow living?' Does it mean living off grid, or does it mean confronting our urbanised way of life - where everything is made to be convenient for you and there are so many distractions - yet practicing that meditation amidst everything around you. Is that the ultimate mindfulness of state and slow living? It's so hard!
It's so hard and I find myself failing at it daily!! I genuinely do think every day, I could do this differently. But I also think, that worked out really well, and today was a really good day! I think everybody probably does that with everything they're trying to achieve and whatever goal they're trying to work towards. You reassess mentally what you need to do and what you can do at the moment.
It can be challenging to practice at times, but by having these conversations, and bringing these issues to the forefront - and challenging traditional ways of thinking - this is what inspires and educates other as well. If we are practicing these things together, then we build this community where we can support one another.
I think this is so true! We live right in the middle of down town, (where there is about 150,000 people in our town) so we get a lot of foot traffic where we live. And that's the positive thing about where we are because a lot of people will be curious and stop to ask 'what's going on here?'. We have signs up saying we have free basil and when you're in the middle of town it's so much easier to talk to people and introduce people to different ideas than if you were out in the country. When we lived out on the farm, every body was already doing all of those things that we find important, so when we moved back into town it was a great opportunity to reach a whole new demographic and meet all new people who were interested, but didn't know how to take those first few steps.
I want to talk more about this honour system you've created with Rogue Carrots and discuss our system of 'currency' these days which comes in the form of money. As someone who has come from a low income upbringing I've developed quite negative associations with the power money brings in terms of scarcity and resources. And I think when you are someone who works in the creative or arts industry, one of the first things people ask is 'how are you going to make money from this?'. One of the reasons for starting this platform was to showcase a community of creative women (like yourself), who look deeper than monetary value, and come from a value based system, where they have a high moral compass and ethics and this is what drives them and is intrinsic to who they are....
You are saying everything that I say! When we were living in the bus people would say, 'Oh, you're living in a bus...'. It's exactly the same here in the U.S; people equate success with money and having a certain amount of things, and buying a home. And not just a home, a nice home! A big home, a new home. I grew up the same way, with not a lot of money and I struggle with myself because I sometimes think that to have a lot of money would mean there would be stability and security, but I have to tell myself, I don't really know that to be true. But it is really hard to break that way of thinking, and to challenge that inner dialogue.
When I grew up I went to a private school and everyone there was definitely wealthier than I was. I always liked to shop at thrift stores, because I enjoyed it. But they all thought it was the weirdest , dirtiest thing ever. There might not be so much now, but there was a stigma to not being able to buy or afford fast, fashion. For me it wasn't just about not being able to afford things - I mean it was partially that - but I really wanted to shop at thrift stores because I enjoyed finding those unique pieces. I liked finding things that had a unique history and had a story behind them. I thought it was cool that somebody else had worn it and had been apart of somebody elses' life, and now it was apart of mine! I felt like it was such a neat connection to have through a garment, but that was definitely not shared by my friends.
Mostly, I get compliments on things that are second hand, and when I tell them that I bought it from this thrift store and it's actually second, they say, ‘ I'm going to start going there too’. A lot of the thrift stores in the US are actually charity driven so the money goes back to helping those in need. So for me thrift shopping is two fold; you get these clothes that have been twice lived in and twice loved, and then you're also giving money to something that can help some one else and you're not just giving it to any old corporation. You're being sustainable, you're not creating a new garment and you're using something that already exists that's not taking more resources to make. So there's zero down side! I have this one jacket that I love, from when Emily [sister] was studying abroad in London and we visited her. We were at the markets and I bought this leather jacket that has this fake fur collar and I love it; people always say, 'that jacket is amazing, where'd you get it?' The pieces I get are really good quality too, people used to make clothes really well and they were made to last so you didn't have to buy as much, because the pieces you did have, lasted a very long time. I've had that coat for 10 years, and it looks like it was from the 70's, and I've never needed to repair it. I think it used to be more of an art form, there was a whole skill set in making clothes for somebody and fitting it to that person.
Would you say that people are inspired by style and fashion in the city you live in?
Mostly, no. There are pockets of people who are interested, but for the most part it's mass market, fast fashion. We do get some style inspiration trickle down from Chicago, St Louis and as far as Minneapolis. The city I live in is a farming town, and it's just not something people are concerned with. But there is a little strip of ethical fashion clothing resellers here, that'll buy from certain companies that pay their workers a living wage, not just a minimum wage - which are two totally different things. And they'll source sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and recycled polyester, made from recycled plastic bottles. So there are some stores like that here, they're just not as numerous or widespread as they would be in a larger city. I sometimes go to Chicago to shop, I recently went on my own for Mother's Day and visited some of my favourite second hand stores and it was great.
So would you say you mostly shop second hand?
Absolutely, not only for clothing, but for furniture in our house, dishes..pretty much everything. I'd say 80% was either to given to us or we bought second hand.
And what about kid’s clothes?
All. I buy all of my kid’s clothes second hand. We have this one particular thrift store in Bloomington called Mission Mart, that supports a homeless shelter. It's in this part of town where there's a lot of wealthy people who take their things there. I go there weekly to get things for the kids because they have really great stuff, and it's crazy inexpensive. That's one great thing about living in a tiny town; thrift shopping is so inexpensive. Also, all my siblings have kids as well, so we get things given to us, but mostly it's from the thrift stores. Kids wear their clothes for such a short amount of time because they grow so fast, it seems silly to me to buy something for $20 that I can get at the thrift store for $1.50. It's economical, it's sustainable and I find really cute things that I like and they like. Now that Leo's grown up, he can pick out his own stuff, and it doesn't really matter if it isn't the right size, because it teaches him to choose, and he can always grow into things.
I think that's so great, as I think we sometimes have this mentality that second hand shopping is good enough for ourselves, but isn't good enough for the children or other loved ones...
Oh no, both kids have second hand clothes and toys. And Armando [Clare's husband], wears second hand clothes, too. Every once in a while I'll shell out for a more expensive piece if it’s as an investment piece. If that's the case though, it's usually from a company that I really want to support or from a brand I want to support. Or it's an ethical piece of clothing that I think is important; those will cost a little bit more, but it's offset by the fact that everything else I buy costs a lot less.
Now that you've moved back to the city and have the urban farm and you're not living on the bus, what would you say you do on a daily basis to lead a sustainable lifestyle and reduce waste?
We still compost all of our food scraps so they stay out of trash. We use disposable, cloth diapers that we've used for both Leo and Finnegan (that I bought from a garage sale); they were used by a few other children before that. So because we don't use disposable diapers, that all stays out of the trash. We recycle, of course! We also have a 200 gallon rain water collector, so we use that for our farm. Armando and I share a car and we bought a home close enough to our jobs, so we both walk to work, we don't drive to work. We also live close to down town, which is where we do most of our going out, so we walk down there. Just having one car is so great, because it means one of us is always walking somewhere, and I know that seems like a small thing, but I really do feel like it makes a difference. We eat a lot of the things we grow ourselves, so we eat locally. All our eggs we get from a local farm, and our meat we get from a small health food store that's all local. I think people don't realise that if they started eating local meat what a big difference that would make. It's a very small thing you can do, but it makes such a huge difference. We don't eat that much meat because it does come in a package, we’re minimising how much we eat it, so we lead a more of a zero waste lifestyle. Some of the things we've done for our business to be zero waste; 1) we don't have any packaging for any of our produce, except for our micro greens, where we use recycled packaging. Armando works at a grocery store co-cop so he takes their recycled containers home and washes them and we use them for some of our things. 2) And for our business cards we cut up cereal boxes, paper and other materials and use these. We haven't had any business cards made.
Are there certain areas where you'd like to lead a more zero waste life, but it's not feasible at this time?
Where we live you can't have a composting toilet, it's actually illegal and so I wish we could have a composting toilet in our house!
Can you explain what a compost toilet is?
With a traditional toilet you flush and the waste goes down into pipes and that water is cleaned. A composting toilet is different, waste isn't flushed away. There are two kinds; so there's one where you can take it our yourself which is the one we had on the bus, and you have to go and empty that somewhere into a pile where you put hay, or saw dust or wood chips or something on top of it and overtime that pile will break down and turn back into soil. It's like having an out house where you dig a hole and will over time break down and turn back into organic matter. But it's against the city code here. It's actually a cleaner way of going to the toilet, but people don't want to be that intimate with themselves...
I think that's such an interesting statement because everything we do costs the earth and takes resources, yet we're not willing to face the realities of what we do daily, as humans..
I actually think it's a nice way to give back - when you're using a composting toilet, you're taking all of that waste, which would usually be put in a sceptic tank and instead you're turning it back into organic matter which is good for the earth. All you have to do is leave it, and it takes care of itself, it's so simple and it's so easy. But it’s scary for people because it's different and unusual and people don't want to deal with it. They want a convenient toilet basically. It's not very respectful for the earth because we keep taking, taking, taking and we're not giving back. Armando and I try to think of it from the perspective that we're here for such a short time, our kids are going to be here after we die and their kids are going to be here after they die, what are we going to leave behind for our kids - this earth where people can't go outside because there's climate change and it's so hot outside?! And not to mention how hard its going to be to grow food, what kind of food scarcity is going to happen?. So we keep thinking, what we can do, even if its a small step, we believe it's going to create this ripple effect. Things around us are going to change because we're trying to change them ourselves, so we think, what can we do to be a good example for our kids, because then they'll be a good example for their kids. And it will create change; it will create a larger effect over time if we start it.
Do you feel it's tricky to uphold the values you've planted with the kids because they're school age now?
Leo just went to pre-school a few mornings a week starting last year, and he went to a very progressive private school, so I haven't found it tricky. The letter that they sent home at the beginning of the year said, 'please try to remember we like to recycle so send your child to school with reusable tupper-ware and reusable lunch boxes'. But next year he'll be going to the public school system, so it'll change things, but it'll be a great opportunity to meet new people and create new relationships. It's good to have an exchange of ideas, and I want him to be in a really diverse community, we (Armando and I) also want to be in a diverse community. I don't want to be in community where people just nod their head and say, 'yes, what you're doing is great'. I want to be in a diverse community where there's an exchange of all different ideas and be around people with different opinions, perspectives and backgrounds.
Have you been able to build a community of people with the urban farm? Do you have regular encounters with people?
So the house we live in now we bought from my parents and it’s the house I grew up in. This last year when we've had Rogue Carrots as a business, we've met more people than any other time living there. It's amazing how many relationships and how many people you'll meet because they just stop and ask what's going on, and ask why we're always outside, why there's all this produce in the front yard and a crazy, bus in the driveway. So I feel like it’s been more about educating, but not in a judgmental way. But more like. ‘this is what we're doing, if you're interested you can come on over and help us’. I have a friend at work that we give produce to, and she cooks meals in exchange for us instead of a money system. I think sometimes I'm getting the better end of the deal because she's such an amazing cook!!
You say you think you're getting the better end of the deal, but maybe she thinks she's getting the better end of the deal?! I'm always so interested in these kind of barter transactions because it teaches us how to value things without the currency of money.
Yes, I think she does think she's getting the better end of it, because she's originally from India, and we grow a few things that are very hard to find here, and she often says she hasn't been able to find those ingredients from the grocery store and she thinks it's so great that we grow it. But on the other hand, I think it's amazing that she makes traditional Indian dishes because I can't make them or get them here, so it's the perfect exchange for us!
I think the example you're setting for your children and the lengths you are going to, to lead this lifestyle whilst raising a family is very brave and courageous..
I think it makes it harder in one way when you have kids - just logistically- you have their schooling and their home to think about. But in another way, it makes it so much easier because it makes things very clear on how you want to live your life and what you want to be to your kids. With every decision we make, we're always thinking about what it means for us as a family unit. And that's one reason why we wanted to start Rogue Carrots. Armando was working at a 9-5 job and he was missing a lot, and he hated that, he didn't want to be missing their childhood. He wanted to be able to see the kids during the day when they were awake so he could teach them things, spend time with them and just be a Dad. And that's exactly what Rogue Carrots has become - he's home during the day and gets to be with them and have these really great experiences together. And the same for me; I love being home with them, but I also wanted my own identity, separate from being a Mum, that's why I have an off farm job because I really enjoy that and love working at the library. When you have kids it make things very clear; there are certain things that I want my children to learn, and want our life to be a certain way, and so I think of ways in which I can make that happen.
When you're responsible for the life of other humans, would you say it solidifies what you believe in...
It really does. We're constantly thinking... ‘we're raising these people, what are they going to be like when they're older, what kind of values are we going to give them?'. We want them to be giving, respectful people, especially to the earth. It gives us so much and we need to start realising that there are a finite amount of these resources that we're, using and once we use them, they're gone, there's no going back. We need to start thinking about how we're going to live in a way that is more sustainable and uses less. Things like having a water bottle instead of buying water in a plastic bottle. It makes such a huge difference with micro plastics and nano plastics. The water we have on this planet, has always been here, so we're polluting it and we're never going to get more water. The water in the ocean isn't going to magically change somehow, and different rain won’t fall down. So if we don't care about those things now, what is going to happen? We can't go back. It lights a fire in your pants, because it makes you realise that we can all make small changes that'll make a difference.
Tell me what do you ultimately want to achieve with Rogue Carrots? What's your mission and what do you want it to be?
We really want Rogue Carrots to be a community minded organisation; we want to build community, we want local food to be easily accessible to all people of different socio-economic backgrounds and different demographics and we want it to be part education. We grow a lot of different produce, things that you wouldn't normally get, so part of what we do is giving that produce to somebody and then also teaching them what to do with it and how to cook it and how to use it. We grow this thing called Kohlrab, it's a vegetable, but you can't just give that to somebody if they've never seen it before. We want it to be where people come together, so creating community- and if it makes us a little bit of money that'd be really nice. But essentially 1) good food to everybody, 2) community goals and 3) education!
Is there anything you miss about living on the bus?
I miss the freedom and the idea we could go anywhere we wanted to, whenever we wanted to. Not that we necessarily would, but the choices were still there. Now we own a home, well, we own a mortgage, and we're definitely more stationary than we were before. I also miss the freedom of not having to clean an entire house, because when you only live in one room, it took about 20mins to do everything - that was pretty awesome. With the house cleaning, there isn’t the freedom of not having to take of care of things. And I miss being out in nature more; it was so nice at night time; it was quiet and sometimes we'd hear owls or coyotes...
Also the freedom of going ‘I feel like going outside and being naked because I can, I live in the middle of the woods and no body else is out here’. But now I live in town and that would be frowned upon!
Is there something that you do for yourself every day like a ritual or tradition to stay mindful for yourself, or a spiritual practice or any kind of practice?
I actually do, I write for 10 minutes every day. Not necessarily about anything. But lately I've been writing a lot about our experiences in Ireland. It's 10 minutes a day, whatever I want or feel like writing about, and it is a little bit of a meditation and it helps me quiet down my thoughts and relax.
Is there something you spiritually feel more connected to after being and living amongst nature?
Overtime from doing the travelling and being more outside, I’ve moved away from traditional religion - not that I was really religious before - but we were raised catholic. Now I feel more connected to things when I'm outside than I ever did when I used to go to church or whenever I would go to church. So it's become more about seeing the spirituality and connection in the world as opposed to an organised religion. I think a lot of people feel spiritual when they're outside, it's a holy place. I mean nature it amazing, and when you think of how it all works together, it's a miracle. It helps to remember too when you're in nature that you're just one small person amongst this whole sea of people and that what you do does make a difference, but there are also so many more things that are so much bigger than you, and it helps to remember those things, other than yourself....