John began his career in agriculture while visiting the California coast in the 1990s. Volunteering at a six-acre organic farm near Malibu, he quickly discovered his passion, taking on more and more farm responsibilities. From that volunteer position, he was given a full time job, coordinating and managing the Farm’s volunteer program. To further the farm’s outreach, he developed a school program with the Santa Monica school district including regular field trips and educationally interactive events.
Once the school program was a success and running effectively through his volunteer program, he focused on enlarging and enhancing the farm’s on-site vending and restaurant sales program. By streamlining the seed to market process, the farm saw almost immediate results, a doubling of retail outlets and restaurant orders. As farm operations manager, John was responsible for overseeing all farm activities, business strategies and planning, while adhering to a dedicated approach to sustainable and organic farm practices.
Upon returning to his home state and settling in Galveston, John became interested in Deborah’s Garden, which was going through a period of malaise and disinterest. He developed a new membership strategy, new growing techniques and a fresh idea to include the whole spectrum of the Galveston community. The result is a garden space in downtown Galveston that draws hundreds of visitors each year.
Sensing that a more cooperative participation in community gardening was the way of the future, John developed a highly successful egg and goat dairy co-op for garden members, providing the genesis for a new direction in Galveston’s urban agriculture.
Debbie Demmon Berger
Debbie’s connection with sustainable farming goes back quite a few years when she was involved with the back to the land movement of the 1970s and a fan of both Euell Gibbons and Scott Nearing. With the Whole Earth Catalog and Foxfire at her side, Debbie and her first husband, plus three young children, a goat, ducks, chickens and a baby lamb, farmed a bucolic five acres tucked into a bend of Sunfish Creek in rural southeastern Ohio. A newspaper column, Poison Ivy Paradise, chronicled the experience.
Following a career in journalism, raising a family of five, and developing a successful marketing company in Ohio, Maryland and Kansas, Debbie decided it was time to pull out of the mainstream and find her niche on Galveston Island. Joining Deborah’s Garden seemed only natural, and that led to her partnership with John Sessions to create Seeding Galveston.