Meet the Farmers
Ben (left) and Jon (right) were born in Beverly, Massachusetts in the early eighties while their parents attended Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. They spent four years of their childhood in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where they learned the importance of resourcefulness and resilience. They would spend their adolescence in Wheaton, Illinois where they were reared with the Midwestern values of honesty, self-respect and kindness. Both brothers would return to Massachusetts to attend Gordon College, where, along with their academic studies, they worked for the Grounds Department, which planted a love for the land in their hearts.
Ben graduated from Gordon College in ’05 as a Theological Studies major. Upon graduating he taught 9th and 11th grade English and Literature in Puerto Rico, where he learned first hand the great challenges and opportunities facing modern educators.
Upon returning to Massachusetts, Ben expanded his familiarity with alternative educational approaches by working as a Crew Leader for high schoolers in the summer program of The Food Project, an agriculture-based youth development program. After a year-long sustainable agriculture apprenticeship, Ben became the head grower for The Food Project’s Beverly and Wenham farms. During his eight years in this role, he oversaw the production of over 400,000 lbs. of organically-grown produce, directed the fieldwork of about 400 teenaged workers, and led countless volunteer groups in the fields.
Ben is committed to educating and empowering young people by connecting them with nature’s abundance. To that end, he in concert with his brother, launched The Garden School.
Jon graduated from Gordon College in ‘06 as an art major. Since then he has pursued the land arts, seeking to apply principles of contrast, balance, and beauty to the environment. He worked for Kalmia Design in Manchester-by-the-Sea for four years, learning landscape construction and design. During this season Jon took several landscape-related classes at North Shore Community College, practical horticulture classes at Long Hill (through the Trustees of Reservations), and landscape drafting at Harvard University.
Jon returned to the land of his childhood for a year to volunteer for an agricultural development project in a village in the mountains of northern Honduras. Here he learned the essentials of agriculture from subsistence farmers who actually lived off the land.
After returning to the U.S. he worked for five years at Baer’s Best bean farm in southern Maine where he learned the mechanics of mid-scale agriculture (and how to cook a proper pot of beans).
After his years at the bean farm, Jon spent a season touring Europe, finding inspiration from the many gardens and magnificent landscapes of the lands of his ancestors. He returned to find himself applying these diverse discoveries to a unique plot of land in Beverly, the former Camp Mitchman. Here he has set about to synthesize his diverse experiences and, in cooperation with his brother, make them available to others through the establishment of The Garden School.
When Jon is not at The Garden School, he works as a freelance landscaper, presently with Modern Homestead in Essex, Massachusetts