Meet the Farmer: Marc Amante
Mar 19, 2018
Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Crown Point's new farm manager Marc Amante became interested in growing food as a college student. Don’t worry, he didn’t go to school in-state, so the University of Chicago graduate says you can "feel free to rag on 'U of M' or MSU all you want."
Growing up, Marc says he's "always been curious about the natural world, and I was a big fan of my mom’s home-cooked meals. I’d never really connected how the two were related until reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Though I initially tried to be a biologist, spending a couple years working in a windowless lab squirting bacteria into jars made me realize I’d much rather be outside."
That realization inspired him to seek summer farm work, and he was hooked. The following school year, Marc began studying the environmental impacts of agriculture and continued to work and learn his way across various farms, including the Midwest’s largest alpaca farm. He also started an "experimental" sustainable/edible landscaping company after graduating, which eventually prompted a desire to learn more about what he was growing.
The eager student made his way to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he completed his graduate studies in Horticulture and Agroecology. During this time, Marc taught classes on gardening skills and plant science, volunteered doing habitat restoration, and visited farms around the state. Between his academic studies and personal experiences, Marc has become passionate about "growing delicious food in a sustainable way and managing our shared planet in ways that leave us all better off."
In previous roles, Marc has grown vegetables to donate to local food pantries in rural Illinois; worked for several CSA farms and a vocational farm/greenhouse for young adults with special needs; designed and installed edible forest gardens; and taught gardening and plant-science workshops. These diverse skills will be put to good use here at Crown Point Ecology Center!
Marc's upcoming plans include adding more perennial fruit and veggies, varieties of crops, produce in the CSA shares, ecological stewardship activities, and educational opportunities. Since joining the team in November, Marc has already coordinated over 14 truckloads of compost and manure to boost fertility, promising our CSA shareholders more abundant and nutritious vegetables.
He's also preparing to have twice the number of vegetable varieties available at the annual Organic Plant Sale, including many more kinds of tomatoes and peppers, plus over 40 species of native wildflowers, grasses, and sedges. In April, he has big plans for The Big Dig: An Earth Day Celabration: putting in lots of trees, raspberries, elderberries, and rhubarb; finishing up the straw bale cabin for our interns; planting native prairie meadows; and removing invasive species. Click here for more information and upcoming events.