Announcement: Garden Guru to Go West

To all my fans, friends, and readers – I’m letting you know that I accepted a new position and will be leaving my position with WVU Extension Service at the end of the year. Now that all the details have been finalized and all the papers signed, I’d like to share my future plans. My last day with WVU Extension will be January 3, and I will start my new position on January 17. Not only will this entail a new job, but also a big move. My new position is a joint appointment with Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska College for Technical Agriculture. I will be the Extension Educator for Urban Agriculture in Omaha, based in the  Douglas-Sarpy Counties Extension office. I will also be developing and teaching new two-year degree and certificate programs in Urban Agriculture for University of Nebraska-NCTA. The position also includes a partnership with the farm at the Omaha Home for Boys, where I’ll be providing agricultural programming for at-risk youth and providing incubator spaces for new urban farmers. I’m beyond excited for this new opportunity and for the chance to continue my education like I have always wanted. The hardest part is leaving all the people here – all my friends, family, coworkers, and even the random people who come up to me from time to time and ask “aren’t you the Garden Guru guy?” or “don’t I see you on the TV?”. The big change comes not only as a result of hoping to progress in my career and education, but also because of instability in my job over the past year due to budget cuts. I have been stressed for a large part of the year not knowing what the future would hold. Part of me feels guilty for leaving when I know that there are dark times ahead for the state and for the university and there is still work to be done here. But when a door opens to a totally wonderful opportunity, you just have to take that step and walk through the door. And who knows – maybe I’ll get the tools, knowledge, and education to come back and make an even bigger impact one day.

As for my writing with the Charleston Gazette-Mail, I plan to finish out the year with my “Garden Guru” column, so I’ll be writing for a bit longer.  After that, I’ll still be writing, but likely in different formats and with different audiences.  I’ll still plan on posting all that here for folks to read.

To everyone who has been part of my “work” life – thank you for making mine one of the best jobs in the world. Thank you for being a great colleague. Thank you for being a great volunteer. Even thank you for calling me or emailing with those crazy garden questions. And to friends – while we may be separated by miles, we won’t be separated by spirit. Today more than ever we have ways to keep in touch. There will also be trips back home for holidays and visits. And Omaha is a great city – if you are passing through or even want to come for a visit the door will always be open. And I’m sure there will be a few opportunities to say “Hi” or “see you later” before we go. And if I don’t see you – thanks for everything…and keep in touch!

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