Interview: Eve Jackson- January 25, 2022
Learn how Eve finds sufficient connection and confidence through farming to re-launch her life.
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Taking on Life
Eve Jackson is an intuitive artist who intricately weaves beautiful visuals and symbolic language into her life and her art through mixed mediums. Through art she inspires personal transformation and social awareness- something Eve experienced on the farm. She earned a Bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY. She is certified in "People Helping People" and "Entrepreneurship and Innovation". Her life experience has been a series of innovative business paths, mindsets and strategies that evolve with the changing times.
As the “trailblazer” in her family, Eve realizes she’s always been an independent thinker and leader. Her eight-year old girl loves playing on the tablet while Eve manages her life as a single mother in Florida. Two jobs on top of providing the best education and care she can for her daughter makes life extremely demanding. But she’s up for the challenge, thanks to her experiences at Wasatch Community Gardens' Green Phoenix Farm.
Life looked promising for Eve. She grew up in Florida and then decided to move away from home to enroll in college in the big New York City. There she spent ten years learning the fashion trade. After a two-year stay in Georgia, she moved to Utah and lived there for seven years. That’s where her daughter was born. After an unfortunate turn of events, Eve was now faced with the challenge of raising her child as a single mother. She seemed to lose connection and found herself without a job and a place to live. Eve reflected, “In my life, I have experienced many different levels of ‘community’.” She was missing that and was searching for it.
Finding the Farm
It was during this time that she found out about Green Phoenix Farm. The YWCA connected her with Camille Winnie, who led the “Green Team” Salt Lake City project. Downtown Alliance of Salt Lake was working with Wasatch Community Gardens as a nonprofit partner to build the farm based on a new city-supported employment program called, “Green Team”. Eve recalls, “When I heard the farm, I didn’t know what to expect, but after a few weeks of sticking with the farm I began to love it. I ended up working for the farm for two and a half years, from 2017 - 2019. I led with my heart first when I chose the farm. The farm experience and the farm itself has been an integral part of the land and my journey.” Eve said.
From her personal blog post written June 4, 2017, she wrote, “When I began this journey I was living at the YWCA family shelter with my daughter. It was a very intense time in my life. Though very laborious, the job was ‘heaven-sent’. I was given the opportunity to work outdoors in nature with plants. It's very therapeutic. Cultivating the soil, planting, and basically building a farm and garden took my mind off all the drama. It cultivates your spirit and well being. It takes dedication and knowing my “why” to make it through some of the darkest hours. It helps that I am learning things that apply to the lifestyle I am growing towards: self-sufficiency, growing my own food organically, and living in harmony with nature.”
“I am also retaining this knowledge to pass on to my daughter so that she knows the effort that goes into being able to at the least, provide food for herself. Many of these skills are no longer sought out by the masses because of the labor that it requires. It’s a long term investment. It’s a labor of love, indeed.”
Restoring my “Mojo” on the Farm
In her journal during her farm work, she recorded, “This month marks the midpoint of the year. I hope that many of us are still on our personal paths. It would be a great time to refresh our commitments. You see, many of us shoot out of the gate in a hurry to get to the finish line and somewhere along the way we slow down or stop altogether. There is a time to rest, but that comes with the intention to continue and be determined to reach a goal or accomplishment. “
Some of Eve’s best memories were connecting with Courtney Giles and James Loomis. She commented, “They were there for me to coach me on to success. The plant sales were a huge undertaking. I saw everyone from the community there at the plant sale to support us. I could sense the value we were producing. The ‘Bee Festival’ was also a great time to gather by the hundreds from the Salt Lake community to learn about the Earth and the wonders of nature.”
Eve remembers how excited she was and continues to be to learn about soil biology. She said, “I appreciate the hidden gem the farm was for me both mentally and spiritually. I got clarity on a lot of things.” After two and a half years on the farm, Eve can confidently say, “It was hard labor, but the fruits of my labor- the wisdom I gained, the healing I experienced - were well worth it.”
Connecting with Self, Plants and Nature
Recounting what daily farm life was like, Eve said, “Each of the four days we came to the farm, our day began with 30 minutes of yoga. Yoga was truly a help for me. It helped me to see things differently and to reach a calm in my life. I also relished the sense of accomplishment that I got by actually building that farm space from the ground up! James taught us about the soil. As I learned about the soil and growing things, I started taking it to my personal life. The farm was hitting me on so many levels. I realized I needed to address things from the root. I realized that I am a spiritual person. My name, ‘Eve’ has a special meaning. I have written several blog posts about this- about what I learned about myself through the farm.”
She continued, “If we can get back to the simple laws of nature and not rely on man-made laws, it will be well with us. The farm experience helped me see that everything has a season. That helped me pay attention to the seasons of my life. I had no idea how to grow food and no concept of how powerful it was. You need to have patience. It’s not going to happen overnight. The world needs to understand this. Nothing of value is instantaneous.”
Advocating for Food Equity and Education
"In a place where people are starving and others are throwing good food away, I want to advocate for food equity. Food is our basic need. How I advocate is to be an ‘interceptor’.
I’ve begun researching different herbs and their culinary and medicinal uses. My friends come back to me and ask, ‘What did you say you used this herb for?’ They now realize that plants were created for our health and enjoyment. Our society is putting a real strain on the Earth. I am passionate about this cause - to restore the Earth and regenerate it. This type of farming (farming with a social mission) is ‘light’ work. It is nourishment for the soul as well as the body.”
Bridging to a Manageable, Sustainable Life
In her personal blog, she continues, “This intense labor has helped me to reap benefits in many areas of my life. Some of the benefits are:
Growing with a team,
Learning organic methods of building and running a farm,
Getting a work out! and
Growing emotionally and spiritually.”
She explained, “The lessons I've experienced are priceless. I consider it a form of meditation. I’ve learned so much! These lessons, learned on the farm, transfer over to life lessons. Some days when life would seem a little heavy the atmosphere of the garden eased my mind. It’s there that I would pray and let go. Farming is all about being in tune with cycles, seasons, methods and timing.”
Farming: A Labor with Love
Eve shared, “Farming and growing produce is a labor of love that allows us to eat fresh organic food. I must say, when grown with love, farm produce tastes and feels much better to eat. Labors of love are rooted in purpose, discipline, consistency, dedication and compassion. I’ve applied these principles into the details of my life. These principles have led me to be more present and ‘in the moment’. I urge everyone to do everything with love and watch how your day to day experiences change. Labors of love are life-giving and healing. The fruit of the labor is peace and sustenance. Like James Altucher stated, “Infinite patience produces immediate results. The immediate result is peace.”
Eve concluded, “Farming with a social mission gives access to this farm experience to people who don’t know the power of the Earth. This type of farming is not just farming to grow food; it is farming that changes lives. I now understand how to prepare for food shortages and avoid poisons in our food - toxins in our food that would negatively impact child development during pregnancy. This type of farming also provides the means of offering underserved communities access to organic fresh produce.”
Building a Brighter Future
Commenting on farming with people in mind, Eve said, “I really align with Eden Streets’ mission and vision. How important it is to empower farmers to cultivate individuals and grow community! It needs to be done in a caring way, individual-by-individual. To those who are applying to work on farms with social missions, I encourage you to ‘trust the process’. The ‘why’ is so important! We’ve got the why right! That’s the reason farming with a social mission will outlive me. Good oil comes from being pressed and squeezed. This work is so fulfilling. I can see the lives of hundreds being impacted for good. That’s a bright future!”
Author: Farmer Karl