...It began with a handshake... Her old olive coveralls and sparkling eyes, his deep green eyes and clean honest face... December 12, 2012 was a momentous day. That's the day Hannah Miller met Jonathan Hale.
It's hard to believe that Jonathan and Hannah grew up over 800 miles apart, Jonathan having grown up in North Carolina, the 5th of 7 children, and Hannah having come from a long line of farmers.
Both grew up with a love of animals, raising livestock, and being outdoors. Farming as an occupation was a common dream between them, though neither thought it was viable as a livelihood in today's world. Over the years and through various ways, each learned of Polyface Farm and became inspired and hopeful. Joel Salatin's book You Can Farm helped each to realize that their dream could be a reality. Similar interests and a passion for farming led to their meeting at Polyface Farm on December 12, 2012, at a work interview for which Hannah had been selected.
After attending a 2010 "Polyface Intensive Discovery Seminar," Jonathan applied for and was accepted as a 2012 summer Intern at Polyface. Following an awesome summer, he was also accepted as a year-long Apprentice.
Meanwhile, Hannah had been learning more about the famous farm and moved to Polyface in 2013 as a member of that year's summer intern team. She also subsequently became an Apprentice through the 2014 season, while Jonathan stayed at Polyface as a farm manager and general shop manager / metal fabricator / mechanic.
Since their marriage in 2015, Jonathan and Hannah are working together at Polyface managing several rental properties, raising pastured chickens, hogs, turkeys, and cattle, as well as Jonathan continuing his work in the Polyface "Shop".
They hope, together with family, to be farming in Mississippi by spring of 2017, providing clean food and improving the land.
Hannah: We are both task oriented, so we're very inspired by accomplishing things, brainstorming and hearing new ideas, growing things (be it plant or animal), and sunshine. For me, seeing things written on a "to do" list is inspiring. Once my tasks are written down I feel like I can get things done.
Jonathan: I don't really have any hobbies, but I love fixing things and making all kinds of leather holsters.
Hannah: I love...most...things that I do. When I'm not farming, I love to be jogging, cooking simple but yummy things, or piecing quilts. Just spending time with family and close friends is always time preciously spent.
3. What relaxes you after a long day?
Jonathan: I relax by tinkering in the shop, fixing things, and drinking another cup of hot black coffee.
Hannah: After a long day I love to either watch Jonathan fix or create things, or just spend time thinking over my day or laughing with loved ones. A few bites of my favorite Haagen-Dazs is always soothing, too. :)
4. Who do you hope to share your passions for farming with?
Hannah: I do have a passion for farming...sustainable farming! Talking about it, learning about it, seeing people realize how important a good diet is, taking care of their bodies, and taking care of the earth with the "vote" of where they put their dollar is priceless to me! ...So I hope to share my passion with everyone - especially my own family, and families with children!
5. What is your spouse's greatest asset?
Jonathan: I think Hannah's greatest assets are her happy carefree spirit, and her gift of encouragement and motivation.
Hannah: I would have to say his sense of duty and dedication to tasks, his ability to fix just about ANYTHING, and definitely the way he motivates me!
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jonathan: I hope to have my own sustainable farm-business and be raising a family.
Hannah: I hope that we are living in a little white house raising our children and our food, enjoying every sunset, caring for the land that we use, and helping other people to nourish their bodies with whole, healthy, healing foods.