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Meet the Farmers
Daniel Kuebler was born in Berger, Missouri but was raised in Hermann, moving there when only 2 years old. He credits his parents, his father especially, for instilling in him a love of growing vegetables at a very young age. As a boy of only 5, Dan enjoyed working in his parent’s garden, spading, seeding, weeding and eating raw, fresh picked tomatoes and kohlrabi straight out of the ground. His mother canned much of the bounty from the garden and she recruited Dan and his young siblings to assist, their small hands perfect for washing jars.
Dan purchased the 30 acres on which the farm is now located in June of 1977 and immediately began a large vegetable garden of his own. From the beginning, everything was grown organically; he was inspired and relied on the Rodale magazine, “Organic Gardening” for tips and practices. By 1989, while juggling his physical therapy day-job, Dan began a small organic farming operation and called it The Salad Garden. He commuted from Columbia out to the farm daily, usually after work, and with the help of his wife, Diane, he began selling fresh produce at the Columbia Farmer’s Market, the Cole County Farmer’s Market, and to some restaurants and friends, even operating a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in the mid-90’s. Sometime around 1994, Dan’s brother Terry joined him as a partner of the farm and they continued to work together at The Salad Garden until 2000.
An active member of the Mid-Missouri community, Dan served on the board of the Columbia Farmer’s Market from 1992 to 2000, on the board of Sustainable Farms and Communities (SF&C) from 2001 to present, and has served on the board of the Missouri Farmer’s Market Association for the past two years. All organizations are focused on building a healthy and local/regional food system that is sustainable.
Liberty was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri to a family with a long history of farming. Her ancestors were Midwestern farmers, and he grandfather was an avid flower gardener, a trait he passed on to her mother. Libertys mother kept a large garden at their home in Ruskin Heights and it is to her that Liberty attributes her green thumb. She saw the garden as her playground, crawling between the tall sunflowers and picking snap peas right off the vine for a snack. It was in the garden that Liberty developed her love of food, farming, and nature.
After attending Mizzou for two years, Liberty returned home to Kansas City. With gardening in her blood and available space she started a large vegetable garden at the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker House. Her passion for organic farming beginning to ignite, she drove off to Durango, Colorado where she apprenticed at El Rancho del Cielo, a small goat dairy and farm. She quickly fell in love with goats and learned all about treating them using herbal and natural remedies. In 2009, she returned to Kansas City for an apprenticeship at the Kansas City Community Farm, the production farm attached to the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture. After a successful year of learning, Liberty moved on to apprentice at Three Rivers Community Farm in Elsah, Illinois. At Three Rivers, she learned how to grow enough vegetables for 185 CSA members plus two farmers markets on only 5 acres. Liberty greatly values her apprenticeship experiences, and welcomes the hard work she now faces running and managing her own farm with her partners.
Leslie is a Columbia, Missouri native, and a Mizzou fan since birth. She attributes her passion for farming to her parents, who homesteaded for the first 4 years of her life in a little house in Pierpont, Missouri. Her father grew everything from potatoes to green beans in a small garden and she remembers the plum and cherry trees off of which she picked fresh fruit for her mother to make into jams and pies. One of her first memories is holding a Pekin duckling her parents raised for meat and eggs. Her mother, a gourmet cook, taught her to appreciate fresh food and embrace the creativity that comes with preparing it.
Leslie graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007 (with an double Art History and Psychology degree) and she has been apprenticing on farms for the past two years. She got her farming feet wet (and muddy) at The Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture where she was a full-time apprentice at the Gibbs Road Community Farm (formerly The Kansas City Community Farm). In 2010, Leslie and Liberty moved to Elsah, Illinois, a small river town outside of St. Louis, where they both became full-time apprentices at Three Rivers Community Farm, expanding their farming knowledge under the tutelage of Amy Cloud and Segue Lara.
Thanks to her apprenticeship experiences, Leslie feels ready and excited to be managing her own farm in conjunction with Liberty Hunter and Dan Kuebler. Also an avid cook, Leslie loves to make up culinary creations using produce from the farm. Ask her for recipes and recommendations.