Michelle Aronson | FARMER, Chef, EDUCATOR
I am a farmer, chef, and educator. I love sweet potatoes, (Kerrygold) butter in my coffee, potluck suppers, and tidy rows of carrots. Food is my love language, and I firmly believe in the power of home cooked meals to inspire, heal, and create community.
I first discovered my love for food + farming while living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during college. After several summers apprenticing on farms, I managed an educational organic farm in Charlottesville, complete with laying hens, bee hives, and a Community Supported Agriculture program. Being surrounded by a crazy abundance of just-picked produce was my favorite part of farming, but I had absolutely zero confidence when it came to cooking with my hard-earned fruits and vegetables!
Determined to learn my way around the kitchen, I attended culinary school at the Ballymaloe Cooking School located in County Cork, Ireland. The school is located on a 100-acre organic farm, where almost all of the dairy, meat, vegetables, and herbs came straight from the fields into the teaching kitchens. Inspired by the incredible teachers, fresh ingredients, and straightforward culinary ethos at Ballymaloe - I returned home with a dream of sharing my love for growing, cooking, and eating with my community.
After moving to Santa Barbara in 2013, I worked as the sales manager for a local produce distributor, Harvest Santa Barbara, where I quickly formed lasting relationships with the community's incredible local farmers and chefs. I worked as a chef at Flagstone Pantry, a from-scratch kitchen that features fresh, seasonal meals that are both healthy and wholesome. I also worked as an Elementary Garden Educator for Explore Ecology, and also served as the Farm Manager & Sustainability Coordinator for Dining Services at Westmont College.
With a love for all things vegetables, I'm the creator of the Spirit Vegetable Quiz and Shop, where you can embrace your inner Spirit Vegetable with customized tees, tanks, totes, mugs, and more. The core of Farmbelly's mission is supporting opportunities for edible education, so a portion of proceeds from each sale will go back to the Edible Schoolyard Project, a non-profit that works to build a national edible education curriculum for Pre-K through high school. We also hope this will help cultivate more dynamic conversations (and action!) around embracing vegetables and supporting local farmers.
I look forward to sharing my love of all things food + farming with you. Let's get cooking! To get in touch, contact Michelle.