Athena Childs Fleisher
Raised in Michigan and South Florida, Athena pursued a career in international public health, earned both an MBA and MPH degree, and worked in Kenya, Ethiopia, China, Mexico, Dominica, and India, among other locales. In recent years, she transitioned out of her roles working for international agriculture, nutrition, and maternal/child health nonprofits, and became a certified Montessori guide (teacher). Currently she works at Abintra Montessori School in Nashville.
When she is not working at Abintra, she helps manage many of the behind the scenes elements of the farm. As the extrovert in the family, MBA alum, and friendly farm namesake, she is also our secret marketing weapon. When you meet her at market or visit us here on the farm, you'll soon understand why.
A native Tennessean, Jesse went away to college to learn about cultural anthropology, but happened to discover a love for organic farming along the way. During several glorious summers at Wheatland Vegetable Farms in Northern Virginia, Jesse learned valuable life lessons about lunchtime barn naps, always setting the parking brake on the market delivery truck, and owning a good skinny dipping pond.
A few jobs and years later, a lengthy world tour ensued...
Gabon, where Peace Corps trained him in community development, tropical agriculture, and eating caterpillars.
Guinea, where he met his future wife, taught agroforestry, and drank tea.
Vermont, where graduate school trained him as a planner/field-naturalist, and made his $6 investment in surplus East German wool army pants entirely worthwhile.
Arizona, where he tutored kids, confounded French and Spanish, and added water harvesting + dryland gardening to his toolbox.
Haiti, where he worked hard, wore a suit, but still failed to solve 200+ years of land tenure quandaries, housing issues, and environmental bumfuddlement.
Kenya, where he and Athena got to work on the same project for the first time, and ate a lot of ugali.
Cameroon, where part way into a year long dream job with WWF, he suddenly realized, perhaps belatedly, that he didn't "just" want to work with and teach farmers, but really wanted to be a farmer too.
And so in 2015, nearly two decades after he first thought about being a farmer, he finally started his own farm, and life has been good ever since...