A Letter from Seattle Farm School Founder, Katie Stemp
Dear Farm School Family,
If you are following us closely these days you will have noticed some changes in 'The Works.' Seattle Farm School is changing, growing, and evolving into the next iteration to serve you better. Farm School was founded in October 2014 as a way to share skills that shaped my life in positive and beneficial ways after going through a difficult time during the recession. Learning how to grow an edible garden, sew, cook, preserve food, bake, and do crafty things served as stress relieving, fun activities that produced something handmade and homegrown for my family that I could be proud of. As a new mom and young wife, learning these skills provided a source of personal identity when I felt like most of my former self was being tucked away to care for the new little people in my world.
Soon, friends started sharing a similar desire to learn, and the idea for Farm School began to take shape. I spent a year taking classes from the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, a program designed to give women and minority business owners a successful start in their ventures. I put the pieces together to be a legitimate business - the incorporation documents, registrations, licenses, insurance, social media sites, website, and logos for Seattle Farm School. Then I made a call to arms through our local community blog for people with passion for sharing their crafty talents, who might be interested in teaching with this newly created organization. One of the first to respond was Kellie, who has taught with Farm School since the beginning... sharing her love of knitting, jam making, garden planning, sharing her garden on the Urban Farm Tour, and being an all around cheerleader and support for the project.
While building this business I have been so grateful to my husband and family for their constant support. My kids have grown up spending the majority of their young lives tagging along to events, helping set up booths at festivals and street markets, being my assistant at the seed swap, organizing materials for classes at home, and having me kiss them goodnight and work on my laptop until the early hours of the morning. They were the cutest tour guides on the Urban Farm Tour and have gotten to experience community activism firsthand. Having mom wear her business owner hat is all they’ve ever known and I’m very proud to have provided them an example of the determination and grit needed to make it work, to follow your dreams and serve the people and community around them. Now that they are getting older, and we live further away, it’s time for the next great adventure of our lives to begin. It’s not easy running a business from home with little kids and I’m so happy for the last year doing it together with Kellie. She’s the best business partner and co-conspirator I could have ever asked for and I’m very proud of what she has done in this short time, and her dreams for where it will go in the future.
Life changes, grows, and evolves… as for me, I am stepping back from Farm School and focusing on my family. I am so thankful for the time and experiences we’ve all had together, the incredible things we have done as a Farm School community - all the great teachers, fun people, interesting classes, skills learned, field trips taken, and service done in our city. I am proud of how we’ve made our hometown a better place and connected people authentically in a disconnected world. For Farm School, it is literally in ‘The Works’ and Kellie is carrying the torch on and continuing to grow this great community of makers, crafters, dreamers, and do-ers. I’m thrilled to see her moving forward and continuing to share her passion for life through The Works.
To all you Farm Schoolers out there - thank you for the ride!
Lots of love,
Katie & family