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Kristen Ryan

“I’ve had an appreciation for nature from the time I was old enough to hold a camera in my hands and know what to do with it. My father used to take me to Vermont and we’d go on hikes, marveling at the beauty of our natural surroundings and capturing the images to keep forever. I also grew up watching him cultivate beautiful flower and vegetable gardens in our yard, and my mom having the kitchen counters full of produce and tomatoes ready to make sauce. 

Over the years, I’ve watched us destroy our landscapes and our natural environments, with no regard. We’re polluting our beaches, rivers, and forests which ultimately pollutes our drinking water sources and the soil we grow our food in. As we pillage our natural resources and pollute to no end, we are impacting the environment & climate. We now have to deal with the repercussions of climate change, and the fact that we’ve permanently changed landscapes and ecosystems. 

I am now an organic farm-owner, and I can see these changes happening on a much more intimate level, and see the extreme value in protecting our resources, and decreasing our impact on our environment and climate. We have to think about things like, how close is the organic garden to the road, and are all of the emissions from the cars going to be detrimental to the growing plant life and soil quality. We consider the fact that neighborhoods surrounding our land may use pesticides and chemicals that are detrimental to the soil microbial life, our water sources and ultimately end up in our food sources. 

And when you scale these things up, and take a look at agribusiness in the U.S., the impacts on the environment and climate are TREMENDOUS. Owning a small, organic farm is the first way we could try to make an immediate impact and difference in our local community. Everyone can make a difference, even on a small scale. Plant a tree, participate in growing a community garden, participate in a local beach clean up, buy locally sourced food. Little actions add up to big impacts (whether positive or negative), which side do you want to be on? What do you want to protect?” 

Kristen Ryan
Rutgers Alumni