Jillian joined the ANCS faculty in 2022 as the School Farmer. She studied global economics and international politics at the University of Denver before taking a step back to travel around the United States and work for different family-owned regenerative farms. She has been a K-8 tutor on and off for about a decade, but this is her first year being fully immersed in a school setting, and she is loving the opportunity to integrate food and farming with childhood education.
While traveling across the US, Jillian was often a Barista for small business coffee shops that prioritized sourcing coffee beans directly from farmers in various regions around the world (roasted small-batch coffee in-house). She was a forklift driver for the Home Depot for a year moving freight in their Garden Department. She ventured into the corporate realm for a year as a Customer Support Manager, but quickly learned that she needed to work with her hands, not behind a computer.
She has held various positions on farms across the US. In Portland Oregon, she worked as Animal Husbandry Specialist at an 11-acre self-sufficient homestead where she managed over 250 animals including pheasants, hogs, turkeys, rabbits, milking goats, alpaca and more! Following that she worked at a five-acre urban market farm, co-managing their two properties where they specialized in growing greens, herbs, tomatoes, and perennials to sell to local restaurants and farmers’ markets. They also had a lovely flock of Muscovy ducks that provided them with an abundance of duck eggs to offer.
In her free time, Jillian enjoys cooking meals and fermenting foods at home with her husband–ask her about their favorite kraut recipe! One of her experimental personal projects is learning how to grow food hydroponically at home using affordable materials that can be found at a local big-box store. She is passionate about food equity and access, community resilience, and teaching others how to become more self-sufficient.