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Ben Edwards of Schoppee Farm and Seattle ELderberry

DAD ON A MISSION: Meet Ben Edwards of Schoppee Farm

Escrito por: Holly Cooper


At Seattle Elderberry, we believe in nurturing families and promoting regenerative agriculture that nourishes both people and the planet. 

In honor of Father's Day, we're taking a behind-the-scenes look at the life of Ben Edwards, owner of Schoppee Farm, co-owner of Seattle Elderberry and a dad raising his kids immersed in the world of regenerative agriculture. In this candid interview, Ben opens up about the unique experience of living and working on a regenerative organic farm with his family. From the daily routines to instilling values around food, medicine, and caring for the planet in his children, Ben shares his inspiring "dad on a mission" perspective.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your family. What made you decide to live on the farm?

Hello! My name is Ben Edwards and I am a husband, father and part owner of both Schoppee Farm and Seattle Elderberry. I grew up on Schoppee Farm. I lived away for 13 years in different cities and wasn’t feeling my best during those years. I started coming home to figure out what to do with the farm, and during my visits I realized how happy I was on the farm. During one of those visits, I met Allie and I haven’t left the farm since. We are now married with two kids!

Ben Making Elderberry Syrup for Seattle Elderbery

What does a typical day look like for you as a dad living and working on the regenerative Organic Schoppee Farm?

My days are all different which is partially fun. I get up early, meditate, and plan my day. The girls get up about 5:30 or 6 am and I’m with them until about 8:00 am. At 8am I usually start working, which starts off with going to the greenhouse to check on my plants, and then coming back to do office work. My afternoons are filled with whatever miscellaneous chores need to be done, which can be anything from welding a trailer to running the tractor or helping out at the cafe’. It’s different everyday and at different times of the year. I spend a lot of time communicating with our legislators to make sure our business remains legal, and I spend a lot of time educating our customers on how to use our products to benefit their health.

How has living and working on the farm impacted your life as a parent? What are some of the benefits for your young family?

I have lived on Schoppee Farm ever since I’ve been a parent. The farm is our foundation and it creates a safe environment and a safe space for my kids, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are a wide range of benefits of living and working on the farm. My kids are surrounded by people that love them and take care of them, and they get to learn where their food comes from and where their medicine comes from. I think that is my favorite part about living on a farm.

What's your favorite part about raising your kids in a farm environment? What valuable lessons do you hope they'll learn?

When my 3 year old gets something to eat she wants to know who made it and she’s gotten used to that. She always asks if Phoenix the Farmer grew the lettuce, or if Ross made the bread, or if Kai or Danna made the elderberry syrups. Everything she consumes she assumes that she should know where it came from and I love it! I think it’s critical. And that’s the cool part.

How do you juggle the demands of fatherhood with the responsibilities of running a regenerative organic farm? Any tips for achieving work-life balance?

There is no work-life balance. It’s my life, I have no hobbies, and I don’t want any. I farm, and I take care of my family. I love the philosophy of doing what you love. Your work is your play and your play is your work and there’s no real distinction to me between when I’m working and when I’m “playing”. I love my job, I love my family, and I love my work. Building a life and having a life are mutually exclusive. I’m building my life and I’m building my world and I love doing it, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. 

What inspires you most about the partnership between Seattle Elderberry and Schoppee Farm? How does it align with your values as a dad?

My values as a dad are my values overall, and I think that's why the partnership with Holly and Seattle Elderberry works. My introduction to Holly was how she sourced her ingredients, and that she worked directly with the farmers, knew the farmers, and was very meticulous about how she sourced her ingredients. We need to understand where our food and medicine comes from so that was the foundation of it. 

What excites me about our partnership is where we’re headed now, and starting to integrate more of the regenerative ingredients into the story and into the formulations. I think it's where we have to move as a society in order to be more sustainable in the long run. I love that those values were already a part of Holly’s operation and how she ran her business. I think that partnering allows us both to take it to the next level.

If you had to describe life on the farm in 3 words, what would they be? And why those 3 words?

  1. Surreal. Because my life is so different from what I thought it would be. It’s so magical and doesn’t feel real. 

  2. Relentless. There’s always something going on or something to do so it can get exhausting at times.

  3. Content. I am happy that my family and I live on our family farm and really love what I do.

What's the most rewarding part of being a "dad on a mission" - both for your family and for the broader regenerative agriculture movement?

The most rewarding part about being a dad on a mission is I get to live my mission. Every minute of my life is my mission. Every day I wake up and try to build a life that aligns with my mission, which is to make sure that my family eats and is taken care of in a healthy way that helps our planet. To produce better food and produce better medicine in a way that is infinitely sustainable. That's the most rewarding part. I’m not just talking about what I want to do with my life, I do it everyday in a way that aligns with my values of taking care of people and taking care of the planet. I hope that you feel the intentional care that we put into every product and customer interaction! And if you're in Maine, stop by Schoppee Farm and say hi!

Ben Edwards of Schoppee Farm and Seattle Elderberry

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