Ben and Stacey Waterman met while they were studying soil science and agronomy at the University of Maryland. Their mentor was sustainable agriculture guru Dr. Ray Weil, a co-author of the Nature and Properties of Soils, a comprehensive soil science text used in universities throughout the country.  Stacey and Ray were the first in the U.S. to publish research on what is now known as “tillage radish,” a cover crop now widely planted to alleviate subsoil compaction.  Ben specialized in “soil judging,” or field methods for assessing soil properties and their suitability for agriculture and engineering applications.

After working several ag-related jobs, the Watermans served together in the U.S. Peace Corps. They were stationed for two and a half years in Malawi, Southern Africa, where they learned the language of Chitumbuka, and volunteered as national parks, forestry and agricultural extension agents.  Shortly after returning from Malawi, the Watermans bought the farm, where they built an off-the-grid homestead.  They established the operation, initially “Waterman’s Berry Farm” in 2009.

Both Ben and Stacey work part-time off the farm.  Ben worked for over a decade with University of Vermont Extension, helping new farmers find land and establish businesses.  Currently he is Lands Director with the Vermont Land Trust, managing community based farms, including working with resettled refugee and immigrant farmers in Burlington, helping them overcome unique cultural and social barriers to farming in the U.S.  Ben has served on the Town of Johnson Planning Commission.  Stacey works for the Lamoille County Conservation District, as the education program coordinator, and director of the nature camps program at the Lamoille County Nature Center.  She has been a devoted volunteer in the Four Winds youth science education program for Johnson Elementary School and also serves on the board of Johnson Public Library.  They like to think that off-farm work in related agriculture and natural resource fields enhances the on-farm work.

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