Seward Co-op Remembers Bruce Bacon


Bruce Bacon is the only hero I ever got to meet. The rest come from books and history. What’s more, he knew me before I knew him; a testament to the Seward Co-op’s commitment to the local food economy and the sanctity of sustainable soil. He knew what we were up to...

We met on April 11, 2010 following my brief presentation on creating a local, retail buying program at the Sustainable Farming Association’s Crow River Chapter Spring Social. My talk focused on how retailers and providers can work symbiotically and the event was titled “Cooperative Retailers Joining Sustainable Providers.” From that point on, I was happy to join Bruce by supporting the purchase of Garden Farme goods and walking his land as part of my training as a herbalist with Lise Wolff. He also taught me how to speak for the soil.

I’ve always been awed by Bruce’s dedication to his land and regard Garden Farme as one of the most diverse plots of soil in the upper Midwest. Bruce clearly knew and loved his trees; bringing in some nice, big cherry trees (not the kind you harvest but the wild kind). He was real happy about the spreen in his garden (a purple variety of cultivated lambsquarter) and he was one of the first to grow Gete Okesomin (a one-of-a-kind squash with an ancient history). He was also quite fond of mustards that would self-sow, adored sorrel and had a fancy for his basil colorful.

Bruce was always trying to get me to visit and bring my son. Last time I visited, summer of 2016, Bruce wasn’t able to walk me around, so we trilled around in his van astounded by the variety of insects flying in the windows; hallmark of a healthy ecosystem. Later, my son got to drive down the Garden Farme road; his first time behind the wheel.

Bruce’s dedication to the land made him heroic for me; forever postulating on the benefits of diversity, no-till soil and creating habitat for pollinators. As a single dad, he also made me feel like a hero; always asking about my boy and always telling me it was going to turn out alright. It did.

He was organic before anyone owned the term. He was building the soil poetically before there were many words for what he was doing. He was farm to table before it occurred to anyone to trend it and make it hip. He was practicing permaculture before anyone set down instructions. He was composting before there was enough compost to compost. He supported artists and the community before community was a catch phrase. His honey is still at the Seward; best honey there is.

And, wow, could he throw a party...

Celebrate Bruce Bacon — Support Garden Farme!
Events on Sunday, December 10, 2017:

2–5 pm at Hook & Ladder, E. Lake Street & Minnehaha Av.
Local musicians – film clips of Bruce and the farm – admission by donation.
Garden Farme honey and soil science posters for sale.
All funds after expenses will go to Garden Farme.

5–9 pm at Powderhorn Community Center, E. 35th Street & 15th Av.
Bring a story to tell, bring a dish to share, everyone welcome!
Potluck food and drink, stories of Bruce, Garden Farme honey sales.