I was born in Vernal, Utah, the 6th of 13 children. Because I was the oldest boy at home I was responsible for the cow and other “farm” animals, as well as the family garden. I didn’t care much for it at the time, but I learned valuable lessons on work and self-reliance. And early on a prize in the Utah State Fair for my pumpkin helped motivate me as well.
When I was married, with a wife and young family of 5 girls to feed, I almost always grew a garden – for economic as well as health reasons.
In the late ’70’s my Church leaders challenged every family to grow a garden, and consequently a great many people in the mountain west got serious about growing vegetables, including our family.
Jacob R. Mittleider’s book More Food From Your Garden became very popular, and we used it to create an extremely productive container or Grow-Box garden on a sunny 20 X 30 foot part of our yard, and practically lived out of the garden for 6 months that year.
The most impressive thing to me was that my 8 year-old daughter was able to care for the garden almost entirely by herself that summer, because I was away from home much of the time and the older girls were not interested.
Jacob was so busy giving seminars that he and his wife moved from Loma Linda, California to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1978, and because we only lived a mile apart we soon became acquainted.
We continued to grow great gardens every year, and in 1989 I acquired a 3/4 acre parcel of land adjacent to Utah’s Hogle Zoo, which was near our home. I created a Mittleider soil-bed garden on 1/2 acre, installed the recommended automated watering system, and then asked Dr. Mittleider if I could put his name on the garden, because 700,000 people per year saw the garden and I wanted to promote his methods.
Jacob gave me permission to advertise his name, so long as I maintained the garden according to his standards, so we became much better friends, as he would occasionally come to the garden and work with me and invite me to his home to work in his garden and learn from him.
By 1998 I had been with Dr. Mittleider to Russia for a month, and had helped him on another major project in Utah. I then retired from other full-time pursuits and determined to devote myself to carrying on Dr. Mittleider’s work.
I also established the Food For Everyone Foundation as a Public Charitable organization at that time, in order to expand the reach of the Mittleider Method in every way that I could, including conducting training projects around the world and 1/2-day seminars in America, as well as through the internet.
At this time Jacob turned all of his materials over to me and charged me with the responsibility (and privilege) of advancing the cause of family self reliance through vegetable gardening.
Since 2002 I have worked in Turkey, Madagascar, multiple projects in Armenia and Georgia, and in Colombia, and have conducted many gardening seminars around the United States.