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Kristen Tool, Berkshire Beekeeper and Family Farm Restorer

Occupation: Farmer, Educator, ArtistGardening Woman Harvesting Medicinal Shrub

Residence: Berkshire County, Massachusetts

Connect with Kristen at Olsen Farm on Facebook, on Instagram @olsen_farm, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

 

Background: Kristen is co-owner of Olsen Farm in Lanesborough, Massachusetts along with her husband Chris. The couple have been working to re-claim their family’s four-generation farm for five years, and ensure the small farm’s future after the unexpected death of her father in 2017. Kristen and Chris recently purchased 28 acres of the family land, where they have been keeping bees, growing fruit, vegetables and herbs without the use of pesticides, raising poultry, cultivating mushrooms, leading workshops and preparing plant remedies since 2015.

 

Kristen is Secretary of Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association, and has a passion for education about pollinators and their importance. She has organized and presented hands-on workshops about planting for pollinators and beekeeping in the local community. In 2019, Kristen and Chris designed an “Adopt a Hive” CSA and workshop series at the farm to educate members about beekeeping, bee products, and to create a community around pollinator protection.

 

Along with farming, Kristen has worked in Early Education and currently manages a crew of incredible teens who run the local farmers market through a nonprofit program, Roots Rising. She believes children — and adults! — learn best through authentic, hands-on experiences and hatched chicks in the classroom for multiple years, including the farm’s first clutch of chickens in 2016. Kristen’s focus is to create a teaching farm at Olsen Farm where community members can experience nature, learn about the plants and animals in their backyards, and learn where their food comes from.

 

Kristen has her BFA in Textile Design and when she is not farming or teaching, you will find her creating art using natural, found and recycled materials. She recently designed jewelry using turkey tail mushrooms, sustainably foraged from the family lands.

 

Photo by Heather Fletcher

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