Name: Ashley Hetrick
Occupation: Homesteader at Vermont Mango Plantation
Place of Residence: Central Vermont
Background and Personal History: Ashley grew up in Southern California's Inland Empire, but after moving to the wilds of the northeast woodland at 17, she hasn't looked back. She found her love of the outdoors on as the captain of Dartmouth's Coed forestry team, where she learned the forgotten art of woodland management using both hand tools and chainsaws.
While working at an educational greenhouse, she learned how to grow tropical plants in a northern climate and successfully harvested and processed cocoa, vanilla and coffee during an especially cold New Hampshire winter.
She began her professional career working as a Process Improvement Specialist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where she worked to reduce medical error rates and improve efficiency in all aspects of healthcare from outpatient areas to the operating room. She is a Six Sigma Blackbelt, a methodology that can be used to generate optimal efficiency in any system.
These days, Ashley translates that efficiency theory training to her own homestead, and it helps her to produce food with minimal inputs.
After working in local agriculture advocacy, she decided to take her advocacy to heart and begin producing her own food with her husband on their 30-acre, off-grid homestead. On her homestead, she's working towards a year of "doing it all," starting out with the essentials travelers took with them on the Oregon Trail and spending a year producing everything she and her family need to survive. To that end, she's spent the last 5 years learning and practicing home-brewing, foraging, animal husbandry, charcuterie, mycology, wood stove cookery and perennial agriculture.
Current Projects: Ashley is currently writing a book, Harvest the Tropics in Your Living Room where she teaches readers how to grow 50+ tropical plants at home and actually produce a meaningful harvest even in the coldest climates.
Other Fun Facts: By day, Ashley works as a massage therapist and pilates instructor, specializing in sports injury rehabilitation. She loves being able to help people keep an active lifestyle, and has a special empathy for people with hiking, gardening and homestead related injuries.
More Places to Find Ashley on the Web: