From garden planning in the winter to the break-neck pace of the growing season, Matt Smaus is responsible for producing the finest vegetables he can and getting them to you in tip-top shape. His love for the natural world started during childhood in his dad’s abundant Los Angeles garden, and on hikes in the sagebrush chaparral of California’s coastal ranges. His love for farming took root during his “traveling twenties,” when he was impressed with the capabilities, knowledge, and grit of small farmers around the world. “I love the rhythms and flows of farming,” he said. “It is both an art and a science, and I am especially thrilled by the sophisticated ways in which ancient wisdom and modern innovation braid together in the practice of organic agriculture.” He is married and has a toddler that follows him around in the garden, pulling up plants.
As Wozupi’s program coordinator, Angelica Adams gets to witness children taking their gardens from bare soil to a bountiful harvest. She also gets to manage a pair of adorable goats! Adams has extensive experience teaching environmental and garden-based curriculums, and believes education can establish connections between people, land and health. Originally from California, Adams worked and attended college in the Pacific Northwest, and then moved to Minneapolis in 2007. “I love working on the land, in the fields, and with hands in the soil. In my free time, I take an interest in medicinal and native plants, traveling internationally, cooking, mountain-biking, and planning for my future farm venture,” she said.
Andy joined the Wozupi Tribal Gardens team in November of 2015. He has more than two decades of experience in medicinal herbs and vegetable production, and immediately put it to good use. Within a few months, he added heated mats, automatic watering, a pinpoint seeder, and a temperature-controlled germination chamber. Wozupi can now grow herbs and some crops year-round, and can more efficiently plant, sprout and water in the greenhouse. Over the next few years, he will build several more high tunnels, increasing production overall. And he’s just getting started.
As orchard supervisor, Philip Honzay’s work not only affects the current farming season, but seasons down the road. He’s tasked with keeping plants, disease, and pests under control throughout the year to produce the best fruits possible. This work requires a balanced approach, where he must address both immediate and long-term needs to build a more sustainable orchard. With an M.S. in Natural Resources and experience in landscape and organic vegetable gardening, Honzay is uniquely qualified for the job. His hobbies outside of work reflect his love for the environment—he enjoys beekeeping, plant propagation, gardening, fishing, and hunting.
Stephanie Larson’s love for animals has transitioned nicely into her role as Livestock Specialist. Larson spent 15 years as a certified veterinary technician before she joined the Wozupi team. In her role, she takes care of all husbandry activities for the farm’s bees, chickens, and goats. She also spends time harvesting and bottling the honey that the bees produce. Larson’s work is about more than taking care of the animals—it’s about getting to know the animals, too. “I love to work with the animals and bees,” she says. “Spending time in their world, you can really learn a lot about their behaviors if you just take the time and pay attention.” In her free time, Larson enjoys going to the zoo, gardening, and exploring Minnesota’s beautiful state parks.