From Bates to Hackmatack

Q: How did you get from Bates to Hackmatack?

Lindholm: Well, at Bates, I did an interdisciplinary major, anthropology and religion. I would say that that really didn’t push me in the direction of farming. It certainly gave me a perspective on other parts of the world, other cultures and other people, and wanting to be very active and interactive.

At Bates I became aware of food issues, and a lot of my friends were vegetarian. A great friend of mine did an apprenticeship on an organic farm through the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association [MOFGA]. I looked into it and, the year after I graduated, I got an apprenticeship on a farm.

From there I basically kept a finger in the Maine agricultural world. I worked for a seed company for many years, worked on several different farms and ran the farm stand for a farmers co-op. I eventually ended up getting my own farm.

I got into seed-saving probably 15 years ago and actually started a nonprofit organization, the Maine Seed-Saving Network, and ran that for about 10 years. I did a lot of educational and promotional research on seed saving, the whole world of preserving genetic diversity and heirloom varieties.

I guess some of it came about because I grew up on a small farm in Vermont. My parents weren’t farmers per se, but we raised our own animals and had a garden. So I wanted to be in New England and I liked the agricultural lifestyle.

I met Ruth in Portland — she was working at the Whole Grocer [a well-known, locally owned natural food store that was purchased by the Texas-based Whole Foods chain and closed in 2007]. She got right into the whole organic farming movement over the past 20 years, too. She never really wanted to be a farmer necessarily, she was just willing to come along and be on a farm [laughs].