A couple of years ago, I realized that I had lived on our farm, the North Outback, longer than any other human being. The people who lived here before this part of the world was “discovered” by Europeans, were nomadic and didn’t plant themselves in one spot. My grandparents lived here for about thirty years, my parents for less than twenty. I have lived on the top of this little hill in the middle of the prairie for most of my life.

Living in one spot, especially one that gives you a view of the horizon in all directions, gives one a particular view of the the world, I think. I began farming with my husband in 1974 on my maternal grandparents’ farm. We always had an interest in farming in a way that made sense not only for our generation, but for future generations, as well. In 1980 our farm was certified as organic and remains certified today. We farm organically, not only because it has made sense for us financially, but because we believe it is the right thing to do. Our neighbors don’t necessarily agree with us, but we don’t criticize them for their decisions and they are respectful of ours. We don’t try to convert them to our way of thinking and they don’t openly tell us we’re crazy even if they might think so sometimes.

My husband, Terry, and I have farmed organically nearly as long as anyone in the state of North Dakota. Someone once called me a “grandmother” of the North Dakota organic movement. I think that’s an exaggeration of both my age and my influence. We have, however seen the number of organic farms and businesses grow and have experienced first hand many of the changes in attitudes about what we do. At one time we were seen as crazy, back-to-the-land, hippies. Now organic agriculture is viewed as a legitimate and growing part of the food system. Even the First Lady has an organic garden.


5 thoughts on “About

  1. Ashlee

    Dear First Lady of the North Dakota Organic Movement,

    My name is Ashlee. I’m co-founder of the Youshare Project, with the mission to connect people around the world through stories. I recently stumbled across your blog and read a few of your posts, and your About section above (by the way, I like your thinking on the “Grandmother” designation, and I think First Lady of the North Dakota Organic Movement is more fitting ;).

    I’d like to invite you to check out our website (www.youshareproject.com) and ask if you would be open to sharing a story with the project? It could be an “On the Job” piece about working the farm (I grew up on a farm and understand how time- and labor-intensive this work is!), an “Inspiring Place” piece, or even an opinion piece about organic farming (I really liked your “Changing the World” post). It can even be something you’ve already written and published on your site. If this sounds interesting to you, I would love to email you directly with more information and formally invite you to share your story with the project.

    You have my email address and website (although please note the site is still under development). I hope to hear from you soon.

    Warm regards,

    1. janetjacobson Post author


      Thank you for your kind words. I’m not sure “First Lady” describes me any better than grandmother…Actually grandmother is at this point in my life, probably more accurate!
      Yes, I would be interested in submitting something for your project. I enjoyed reading some of the essays already published there. You can contact me directly at if you wish.

  2. Ashlee

    Dear Janet,

    Thank you for your response and kind words about the Youshare Project. I’m excited to have you and your story as part of the community! And I would love to send you additional information. What is the best way to contact you directly? (Or, if it’s easier, you can shoot me an email to ashlee@youshareproject.com, and I’ll respond there.)

    Warm regards,

  3. Mel


    I am not sure if you are acquainted with either Naomi Klein or Dr. Vandana Shiva however, Naomi (who calls herself the “Canadian, secular, Jewish feminist”) spoke along side the Pope as he talked about the “Laudato Si” and reverence for the environment. Dr. Shiva talks about lifestyle shifts from fossil fuel dependency to a more organic life, natural soil cycles, natural carbon cycles and climate change (targeting, specifically, organic farming as a catalyst for change). One of my favorite phrases from this youtube is when she talks about how the movement away from organic life has contributed to the loss in the potential of “us as earth’s citizens with capacities very, very different from the de-skilling that has gone hand in hand, when fossil fuels have replaced human creativity”. She emphasizes “soil not oil” I have attached the 5 minute youtube blurb you may enjoy.

    Naomi Klein’s book is: “This Changes Everything”
    Dr. Shiva’s book is: “Soil Not Oil”

    1. janetjacobson Post author

      Thank you for your comments and links to more resources. Yes, I am familiar with both Naomi Klein and Vandana Shiva, but have not gotten to reading either of the books you referred to. I will add them to my list! I appreciate your thoughtful comments.


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