“I was always a tomboy, building forts and riding horses,” says Angela Andre, who focused on theater and dance at Rolling Hills High School in Southern California. “I went to performing arts college for a year, but didn’t like the lifestyle, staying up late.” She began to study physical therapy, but then in 1974 met a guy who had a small farm in the Oregon Coast Range. “We were in the first wave of hippie back-to-landers,” she says. “We raised everything: vegetables, fruit, berries and livestock.” She was a co-founder in 1978 of the Newport Farmers Market. Divorced in 2000, she left the farm after 26 years to major in natural resources education at Oregon State University.
“College is a great place for a mid-life crisis,” says Andre, who learned to kayak and rock climb, worked summers as a park naturalist and found a new husband, John Cooney. After graduating, she joined him in Eugene, where she managed a garden for Northwest Youth Corps and developed a farm for the Excelsior Restaurant. She is currently in her third year as farm manager at the Berggren Demonstration Farm, on land acquired by the McKenzie River Trust in 2010. The farm offers workshops, field trips, and internships and supplies seasonal produce and meat to CSA members and restaurants. “It’s given me the chance to do a lot of teaching, from elementary school groups to adults,” Andre says. “Our new big project is a poultry- and rabbit-growers cooperative.”
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