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a little background

Radical Root

Follow the Craft Farm exploration in sustainable and creative living.

a little background

Allison Duncan

I grew up in the country. 

My mom taught me to identify plants and bugs.  My dad built a place for me to hang out, high up in a tree, in the woods.  My big brothers showed me how to revel in the displays of dramatic summer lighting storms. 

Always the kid that enjoyed the outdoors.  Also early evidence that my hair has always had a life of it's own...

Always the kid that enjoyed the outdoors.  Also early evidence that my hair has always had a life of it's own...

We always had pets – dogs that accompanied walks around the lake and cats that would tolerate the antics and imagination of a 5 year old.  Wildlife would walk through our backyard, on the regular.  And the windows of my bedroom looked out on the crooked network of branches of old oak trees.

Undeniably, this all shaped my perspective on the world.

In my 20s, I studied the liberal arts - taking every class that looked interesting and expanded my hand skills as an artist and maker.  I was employed in graphics arts, mostly, but moved to upstate New York to pursue a museum career.

...just look at that outdoorsy enthusiasm, at the peak of Gothics Mountain in the Adirondacks.

...just look at that outdoorsy enthusiasm, at the peak of Gothics Mountain in the Adirondacks.

It wasn't long ago, that I began to crave a change from what became a windowless office life.  I began to fill my spare time with glimpses into an alternative lifestyle.  I took up hiking, becoming an enthusiastic novice wilderness camper.  My plant obsession went into high gear, collecting weird varieties of succulents and attempting not to kill orchids. 

I took on personal missions in making - exploring how to make almost anything from scratch.  I DIYed the heck out of my house.  

When some friends offered me the use of a piece of their land, I jumped in (way over my head) growing what I referred to as a 'micro-farm.' 

First year "micro-farm" planting, late spring   

First year "micro-farm" planting, late spring

 

First growing season experiments, early summer.

First growing season experiments, early summer.

I have always gotten a lot of joy from making and growing things, but these "hobbies" have resonated with me more over the past few years, as I worry about the way we treat our environment.  I decided to reconsider what it means to me to "make a living" - even if the ideas may seem like a utopian daydream.  

Time to hit the road.

Time to hit the road.

And so, Craft Farm was born... my own little business model to pursue a more creative and sustainable lifestyle.  Of course, like everything in life, it's a work in progress.

To broaden my perspective, I am taking a road trip to meet farmers and craftspeople around the country.  I'll be hitting the road in just a few days.  It will be a wandering path, but I think I'll find some cool stuff along the way.

In this little blog, Radical Root, I will share my exploration and experiments in sustainable farming, DIY you-name-it, weird plants, processes of craftsmanship  ...and anything else that I stumble upon that seems relevant or intriguing.  I'll share stories and tips from the people I meet along the way too. 

It's bound to be an exciting, bumpy road ahead. I hope that you'll stick around to follow the journey.