For Jamie Furstoss, an interest in farming dates back to childhood memories in the family gardens in Washington state. That interest became her passion when she took a year off from college and traveled to Thailand, Nepal and India.
“My travels during that year off from college is what did it for me. Just watching the farmers … I remember watching a group of women in Thailand, in their big hats, squatting down, working and laughing. It just made sense to me, and soon it became attractive to me. When I came home, I experienced a really strong case of culture shock.”
The seed planted on that trip inspired Jamie to complete an agro-ecology program and obtain her Permaculture Design certification at Linnaea Farm on Cortes Island, British Columbia before gravitating to Heartwood Institute in Northern California, where she gained expertise in sustainable green building and met future husband, Marco. After time in Telluride, Colorado and Hawaii, the couple landed in Boulder, where Jamie managed a 200-plus acre organic farm and became an ecological designer and regenerative gardener. Eventually she started her own company specializing in organic plants, xeriscape, permaculture and sustainable methods.
When she and Marco learned about the Elkstone Farm manager opportunity, she immediately sensed that a move to Steamboat was the perfect next step for combining her skills and passion.
“I was amazed at how in alignment this seemed with what I had done, what I know how to do, and what I love to do. It feels like a renewing and deepening of my skills and orientation toward how to work in the world.”
With a strong background in managing crews, permaculture education, beekeeping and herbal medicine, Jamie sees many possibilities at Elkstone Farm, with a focus on healthy soil at the forefront.
“The most important thing is keeping the soil alive and healthy, and creating an integrative system where the different parts support each other. I really believe in the permaculture principles: Care for the Earth,care for the people, share the surplus. It’s more than just feeding people with food. It’s also feeding their hearts.”
Rounding out Jamie’s connection to all things sustainable and regenerative, she enjoys practicing and instructing Breema®, a holistic system encompassing partner bodywork and self-care exercises based on universal principles that support connectedness and presence. She also thrives on connecting with family and friends including her and Marco’s daughter, Cassidy, who has applied her parents’ teachings to her own business infusing Chinese medicinal herbs into chocolate truffles. When not on the farm, she likes being in the wilderness or near the ocean, cooking, hiking, swimming and skiing.