photo by anne lawrence
Every detail of Garrett and Alyssa Hoyt’s life together with their five children is carefully choreographed with a purpose in mind. That purpose is the art and practice of truly living green – working hard to create a life filled with joy and meaningful relationships and a sense of community, while treading lightly on the earth. Their proving ground is their home on five fertile acres of land they call Five Sprouts Farm.
Their work is evident in every area of the farm. Near the front of the property, Garrett built a long wooden structure to support their hardy kiwi vines. One of Garrett’s handbuilt farm gates allows access to the sheep pasture. Colorful jars of Alyssa’s carefully preserved produce line shelves in an outbuilding near the house. Handbuilt by Alyssa, a wooden rack in the living room holds reading material for the children.
Following the design principles of Hugelkultur, enormous uprooted tree stumps are carefully positioned across the center of the property, awaiting the next step. (Hugelkultur is the practice of creating raised garden beds by mounding up piles of decomposing wood and then covering them with mulch, soil, and compost for the purpose of enriching the soil and conserving water.)
Garrett and Alyssa choose to use sustainable products at home. They use cloth towels, napkins and toilet cloths. They use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. They try to minimize home energy consumption by keeping lights off and the temperature down. Whenever possible, they carpool, combine trips, ride bicycles or walk.
Providing the family with a plentiful supply of eggs, robust hens forage in the protection of a thickly wooded area, roosting inside a converted trailer at night. The family’s abundant gardens, filled with myriad vegetables including heirloom tomatoes and rainbow carrots, are productive enough to feed the Hoyts and also to stock produce booths at two weekly farmers markets.
In the spirit of community education, the Hoyts maintain a website and blog and have opened their farm to the public for educational field days and farm tours.
Garrett is involved with the Clark County Food Systems Council, and Alyssa has volunteered with the Master Composter/Recyclers program.
The family’s work load and lifestyle shifted dramatically this year when Garrett accepted a full-time faculty position at Clark College. For example, the couple’s formerly homeschooled children now attend public school. But their purpose is unchanged.
“I love the quote by Ghandi,” said Alyssa. “‘Live simply so that others may simply live.’ As we shift our society’s thinking from being the center of the universe to being a part of a worldwide system, I think we will positively impact the lives of others around the world.”