Closeup Image of polished vintage wood flooring at CFPA - Center for Performing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Meet the Farmer: Margo Hanson-Pierre of Clover Bee Farm

Margo Hanson-Pierre, owner and farmer at Clover Bee Farm​, will be joining us us THIS SATURDAY at 6:30 pm for ReClaim June: The Creative Process at Work in Farming: Food Tasting and Conversation.

FREE! RSVP at Eventbrite.

CFPA Mpls: Tell us something about ways you see a creative impulse manifesting in your life. Are there other things you make, besides food?

Margo: I went to college for art, sometimes I paint, draw, etc. I cook, bake and I garden. The materials we use for advertising the farm are made by me as well.

CFPA Mpls: Did you make other things before you started farming?

MH-P: Yes, my dad fostered the arts side of my personality and my mom was supportive of it as well. My mom always encouraged me to draw/experiment with new materials and my dad and I painted a lot together. So I went to college for art and design. At the U of MN, I focused on printmaking and I studied graphic design at a vocational school.

CFPA Mpls: How does your position as a maker-of-things shape your point of view on the world?

MH-P:  In every way. I don’t think I can elaborate on that, I think it’s inherent (blessing and a curse).

CFPA Mpls: Did it change after you started farming?

MH-P: Yes, I became more conscious of food access and social justice, the history of land ownership, and the intersectionalities between race, class, and food. This is mainly because of the farmer’s market and the fact that rural America is very white.

CFPA Mpls: Describe your process as a maker. How does the impulse to create shape your decision-making process around farming?

MH-P: I think I try to see things from start to finish, like you would with any project. Lining up the processes in order to make it most efficient/profitable.
I’m also used to not having a lot, in terms of finances, so I wanted to expend small amounts of income/resources until I felt secure, which happened last year and led me to buying a farm just north of Taylor’s Falls. Owning a farm creates endless opportunities.

Creation also isn’t just a one-off act, you keep doing it if you’re successful and acknowledge that (hopefully small) failures are part of the process.

CFPA Mpls: What is the hardest part of making?

MH-P: The lack of social outlet, the mundane every-day, constantly negotiating with a partner (although I wouldn’t farm alone). The aches and pains that farming causes the body. Seeing farmers quit.

CFPA Mpls: What is the most joyful part of making?

MH-P: The successes, connecting with our members and customers.

CFPA Mpls: Do you have a circle of collaborators?

MH-P: All the other lovely farmers doing what we do. It’s a big community, and even if we do things differently on every farm, the differences are a great opportunity to change and move our current systems if we see fit. Talking with other farmers about what they’re seeing in their fields and on the consumer’s end/trends is also super helpful. We also somewhat collaborate with our workshares. They bring a lot of energy to the farm to help us get things done. Our CSA members and market customers share a lot of feedback. I am finding that farming is a large interconnected system of collaboration. Small farms wouldn’t exist without various kinds of support.

CFPA Mpls: How do you see the impulse to create/make at work in that circle?

MH-P: A lot of people don’t think they’re creative, but creative problem-solving counts as creativity. So does cooking with a vegetable you don’t know how to use! Everyone is creative.

CFPA Mpls: How does your creative impulse shape your experience of community, or your community’s experience of you?

MH-P: I think I am able to see opportunity everywhere. Every person I meet is an open door to their stories, and information. We all desire to connect, collaborate and feel validated. It also causes me to be a horrible critic of my work, and never feel satisfied.