Although I've never considered myself a farmer, I believe my mix of suburban and urban experience will serve the Mars colony better than a traditional family farmer or an agribusiness employee.
I qualified as a Master Gardener five years ago. In that time, I have designed, planted and maintained several Demonstration Gardens, including an acre plot that can feed six vegans for a year and a 20’ by 10’ butterfly habit. I worked with a local tenant’s union to create a series of window box herb gardens that gave families in apartment buildings access to the herbs used for cooking in their varied cultural traditions. All three of these gardens continue to thrive.
My experience meeting the habitat requirements of beneficial insect species should be especially helpful in creating a healthy, self-sustaining system for the colony. I am currently studying with an apiarist, in order to establish hives with sufficient genetic variation so that we can determine which bees are best suited to Martian conditions.
Part of long-term planning involves training other people to love and maintain their gardens. In my experience, children as young as four years of age can be helpful in gardening. They love learning about the natural world and seeing where their food comes from. People often view time spent working in the garden together not as a chore, but as an enjoyable way to bond with their family and community.
Finally, I have a background as an artist. I understand that we won’t have the time, energy or resources to devote to pure art in the early years of the colony, but my gardens feed both the body and the soul. Natural beauty can provide an antidote to the anxiety and depression that claimed lives on earlier missions.
Thank you for your time and consideration.