All the info about ReRooted Connections. Who we are and what we're about.
Our team at ReRooted first began as a group of friends looking to foster connection and hope for the future within our community through our collective passion for nature, sustainability, and designing a community space for people to put into practice and grow these shared values. The group became more formalized during the early spring of 2020 when we began weekly meetings (mostly virtually due to COVID) while continuing to exchange gardening tips and ideas, share plants and seeds, and find ways to make connections with other like-minded folks, even in the face of pandemic.
In 2021, our team answered a call for proposals from the transition board at The Pepperfield Project, and in early 2022, we found a home to carry out our vision. The house, land, and facilities offer the ideal location for us to build our project: providing a space for aspiring farmers, gardeners, and hobbyists to have affordable access to land and materials while promoting practices of land conservation, sustainability, and regenerative agriculture.
We are so grateful for the generosity and support with which the incredible members of this community have welcomed us. It is through their belief in our vision that this project has truly come to life. We are both humbled and inspired to be a part of and contribute to a community that already demonstrates such strength and resilience.
Our vision is to foster a dispersed community of learning with a directed effort towards refining the tenets of and reaching a symbiosis of sustainability, regenerative agriculture, automation and technology, and social and economic justice for the driftless biome. As a community of teachers, learners, and tinkerers from diverse areas of expertise, we intend to create an environment of open-source discovery and innovation based on a rural, multi-generational cohabitating paradigm as well as in an online community of like minded individuals and organizations.
Our goal is to steward a space for the members of our community to develop and grow their own projects and visions, while providing the opportunity for all to experience, learn from, and exist in harmony with the land.
ReRooted Connections is still in its infancy. We know there is a lot of work to do, but it is work we are truly excited to have at our hands. We also feel the energy and support of the community into which our project has been adopted and we look forward to finding ways to give back.
Connect with us about your ideas!
Todd grew up in the Chicago suburbs, going on frequent visits to the local nature center and family camping trips that gave him a love for the outdoors and nature. While initially having other intentions, he found in college that he had a knack for computers and technology. This passion would become Todd's major and career, graduating from Augustana College in Rock Island in 2000 with a double major in Information Technology / Mathematics and Business Administration. Todd is currently the Supervisor of IT Networks at UnityPoint Health. It was an IT supervisor at one of his first jobs that recommended a very non-IT book he thought people should read - A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. This book turned into a major influence that would push him towards pursuing an understanding of agricultural systems and how to restore nutrients, species diversity, and harmony to broken food ecosystems. Todd has been apprenticing on friends' farms and gardens to gain experience in homesteading, gardening techniques, permaculture practices, and land management. Todd’s heartfelt desire is to create a place of community, learning, and making, centered around agriculture and a connection with the land. It is with much gratitude and a spirit of community that Todd is joining in ReRooted Connections to serve as board member and Technology Director.
Mike left Muscatine, Iowa at 18 to join the Army and see the world and ended up in Kansas for 3 years. The Army wasn’t for him but Kansas held his first greenhouse job and a stint as a farm hand at a buffalo farm on the flint hills. Family brought Mike back to Iowa where he has had several diverse and overlapping roles including general manager of an exotic animal farm/retired tree farm, retail greenhouse sales, property manager for a local service provider, grower for a mushroom farm, farmers market farmer on rented land and co-op produce clerk. Mike met Rachael in Iowa city and they now have twin two-year-old daughters, Althea and Eleanor. Mike earned a degree in Renewable energy from Kirkwood Community College, which led to a job as a wind turbine technician and a consulting position with an experimental solar/hydrogen project. “Jack of all trades and master of none” has become more of a goal rather than just a motto for Mike, but the one constant has been a deep connection to the land and growing food for people. Mike is serving as board member, Caretaker, and Special Projects Director.
Rachael grew up in Dubuque, Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2008 with a BA in English. She has traveled extensively throughout the US as well as internationally and spent more than a year teaching English in China and Taiwan. She lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota before returning to Iowa to pursue a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of Iowa, which she earned in 2014. Rachael met Mike Sammons while completing grad school and they married in 2016. She is a gardener, a mother, a nature-lover, and a lifelong learner. Before moving to Decorah, Rachael spent 8 years teaching in the Iowa City Schools and working with her husband to transform their small town home into an urban farm. Rachael is proud to be serving as board member and Program Director for ReRooted.
Della, the daughter of first generation immigrants, was raised all over the US and Canada, as her family moved often with her father's civil engineering career. Experiencing different parts of the continent and globe, Della has an appreciation for cultural diversity and equity. Della earned a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa. Della is very passionate about STEM education and K-12 outreach, participating in programs like Future Cities to engage young people in creating sustainable visions of the future. She now works as a civil engineer for the City of Cedar Rapids, and is on the state Board of the Iowa Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Della is also a passionate gardener and raises baby succulents. Della is happy to serve as board member and Education Outreach Director for the organization.
Jonah is enthusiastic about everything to do with food. As one of the most dedicated ReRooted volunteers, he is helping to shape the future of the gardens while learning from doing and reading in the comprehensive gardening library on-site. Raised in the Monticello area, Jonah learned gourmet cooking and baking from his grandmother. Another jack of all trades, Jonah is poised to lead other volunteers and future interns in everyday tasks and projects.