As a stay at home mom of three girls (ages 10, 5 and 3), I have a passion for creating childhood memories and teachable moments. We are a get-up and go family and love being outside and in the “dirt.” We are committed to teaching our girls lifelong skills and the value of hard work. The garden is the perfect place to learn these, as well as the opportunity to bond with nature. I also believe that if we grow it, they are more likely to eat it…well at least try it. It warms my heart to see one of our girls chomp on a green bean straight from the plant or watch the juice drip down her face as she eats a fresh tomato.
We live in a subdivision, in a small agricultural community near Wichita, Kansas (zone 6). Our home is on a small lot and we currently have three raised garden beds and many landscape beds around our home. Our lot is nearly 100 percent clay; I don’t think I can even call it soil. We’ve learned to live with it and amend with compost and fertilizer.
I grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in south central Iowa. I am truly a farmer’s daughter and during my childhood developed a love and appreciation for agriculture. Through my involvement in 4-H and FFA, I chose my career path in Agricultural Education. I obtained a bachelor’s of science degree in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University and a master’s of science degree in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University.
I taught high school agriculture for two years in Iowa and then worked for Texas Cooperative Extension as the Texas Junior Master Gardener implementation coordinator. Motherhood changed everything, and we decided to put my career on hold (best decision we ever made!). To keep connected with my roots and education, I enrolled as a volunteer Extension Master Gardener in 2000. I continue to embrace the wisdom and experience offered by all the green thumbs that make-up our eclectic master gardener family.
Executive Director Nutrients for Life Foundation
Harriet E. Wegmeyer is executive director of the Nutrients for Life Foundation. The Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation committed to educating the industry, media and the public on the important contributions fertilizers make to society. Founded in 2004, the Foundation strives to educate teachers and students about the positive effects of fertilizer through its science curriculum, Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century; provides tools for individuals in the industry to use in their communities; and works with researchers to explore the link between fertilizer and nutritious food. Harriet directs the day-to-day activities of the Foundation, including its educational efforts, consumer advertising, nutrition research and fundraising initiatives.
Harriet is passionate about the value of soil nutrients and sees their impact every day on her strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and pumpkin farm. She graduated from Cornell University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree and currently serves on the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Board of Directors. Harriet is also a Loudoun County Master Gardener.
Harriet is a native of Coldenham, N.Y. She and her husband, Tyler, have two children (Torsten-6, Tucker-4, Colden-1) and reside in Hamilton, Va.
Education Specialist for Nutrients for Life Foundation
Julie Buratowski , the education specialist at Nutrients for Life Foundation, works to develop new education materials, in addition to conducting curriculum awareness in schools and working with industry members in sharing the Foundation’s core programs. An avid gardener, Julie was originally a high school teacher in Central Arkansas and now resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
Julie shares the Foundation’s message to increase the understanding of how responsible use of plant nutrients improves our soil, the plants that grown in it, and ultimately, the foods we eat. She is available for teacher workshops and training meetings regarding the Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century plant and soil science curriculum (grades k-12). Schools interested in arranging a meeting with Buratowski to teach the curriculum are invited to contact Nutrients for Life at (800) 962-9065.