Meet our Volunteers: Elizabeth Hadden, Jay Kuykendall
These are a few of the hopes and dreams of Jay Kuykendall and Elizabeth Haddon: Find some land, learn to do things themselves (including building a tiny house), learn ins and outs of composting and farming to grow vegetables themselves, travel (the tiny house will be mobile); basically, they say, they want to live a sustainable life.
And so, when Jay learned from the tree expert where he was working that there is a place called CommonWealth Urban Farms, that’s where the couple came to volunteer. They spent about 20 minutes in the farm beds before someone asked them to help out in the compost operation. They’ve been coming every Saturday morning to sort produce and build compost piles ever since.
We’ve learned how composing works, about microbials, how long it takes, how to layer, how much space is needed,” says Jay. “Peter is teaching us about composting at home,” says Elizabeth. “And being here is connecting us to community. We had thought there was nothing happening in Oklahoma City. We had no idea. Now we’re plugging into a community that holds the same values.”
There is an interesting variety of people working in the compost lot, says Jay, “people who are teaching us stuff.”
“We’ve learned that much food is still good that is thrown away,” says Elizabeth. “I’ve learned about edible plants, and bees.”
“I’ve learned that I don’t have to work with music playing all the time,” says Jay. “I can bond with nature instead.”
Jay’s paid work is for painting apartments, which he says he enjoys a lot. He traveled a growing up and he likes the idea of randomness, of not being certain about what’s coming next.
Elizabeth works for a company that helps people with their insurance companies. Her job could be done remotely.
They are to be married this month. And they are excited about the possibilities in the future. Jay: “We want to do something different; have no debt, no family yet. We want to be sustainable.” Elizabeth: “We want to live simply. Be mobile.”
They’re excited about what they can learn that will help them. Next up: they want to start attending CommonWealth’s Garden School classes.