The dream started with a seed.
When I began high school, I “accidentally” joined the wrestling team. After cutting weight in the first season, from 190 lbs. to 136 lbs., my focus turned to health. And, given that I was not eating very much, I figured that what I ate should be very good for me. So, I decided to shift my diet to nutrition books. As I digested the information, I began to see the connections, connections between the soil, the seed, the air, the water, the sun, and my body.
So, with parental consent, I started a 20’ x 30’ garden in my backyard with lots of manure to complement the Florida sand. I did not start as totally organic (that would come to me in graduate school). Still, the tomatoes, green beans, pickling cucumbers, radishes and more had so much flavor, that I became hooked, hooked on the flavor and the experience of producing such wonderful food from such small seed.
After about 10 years of college, grad school and gardening abstinence, I moved into a house expressly to start another garden. This time, armed with my Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, I created my first organic garden. The results far surpassed my memories of the high school version.
As I was becoming disenchanted with my vision of myself as a professor of physics, there was a devastating famine and then plague in Ethiopia. In imagining how I could help, I began to apply my physics background to designing effective and efficient (simple would come later) climate controlled greenhouses.
In a rather round-about way, I have come to one of my missions in life: to produce and promote nutritious food, so flavorful, that it becomes the obvious choice over a Snickers bar. I chose the name of the company and its brand name, Wicked Wilds, to highlight the wickedly wonderful flavor of wild and heirloom fruits and vegetables. The term heirloom stems from what is worthy of passing from generation to generation. Generally, an heirloom varietal is one that was bred more than 50 years ago, before commercial breeding focused on the production issues of higher and more reliable yields, easier harvesting, easier processing and packaging, and more transport resilient (note that flavor and nutrition are not included in the list).
To achieve this mission, I have developed an effective, efficient, and yes, simple, greenhouse which will allow Wicked Wilds to grow flavorful, organic produce year-round. The greenhouse uses less than half of the electrical energy of a conventional greenhouse for cooling and ventilation and only solar energy is used to keep the greenhouse warm on winter nights (20°F – 25°F warmer than outside temperatures). The control of air and soil temperatures allow for the use of organic matter as a plant nutrient, instead of relying on conventional, synthetic fertilizers. The control of temperatures and humidity allows for the control of fungus without the use of chemicals. The physical barrier of the greenhouse reduces the influx of pest insects and the efflux of predator insects, such as ladybugs (which eat aphids). The physical barrier of the greenhouse also reduces the influx of weed seeds, thereby making hand weeding practical. This control of the physical environment allows Wicked Wilds to grow without the use of any pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides (not even the ones allowed in organic crop production).
And to bring this development full circle (it’s really helical and only appears circular from a particular perspective), I am working on an economical, solar powered version of this greenhouse for use in remote locations and third world countries. To implement simple, sustainable, and reliable food production systems throughout the world would benefit the planet and its people.
My reason for explaining myself and my history is
to provide you with a more “tangible” kernel that will grow into my dream, “a
world with reliable, sustainable, local food supply that nourishes the
body, stimulates the spirit, and connects the soul.” I hope you