Lisa and Mark "Zimbo" Paul own Powered By Nature LLC. Lisa does the birthing side of the business (Bloom Into Parenting, Naturally), and Zimbo does the farming side of it (Vintage Quest Acres).
Lisa Paul – Childbirth Counselor, Mother and Farmer’s Wife:
I’m married to a green beret-farmer-chemical engineer from Zimbabwe. Some days it is like being married to 3 men! My 2 children, ages 9 and 11, were born at home attended by midwives. Between them I breastfed for 5+ years and I now work at the local health department teaching new mamas how to breastfeed. I completed my childbirth education certification in 2005. Although this is not exactly the future I envisioned when I got my BS in Computer Science and Math from Colorado State University, it’s all part of my journey to today.
What is the one thing you want like people to understand about your services that you feel they don't? Giving birth is an event that a couple will remember for the rest of their lives. Ask any 80-year old mother, and she can give you details about the birth of her children. Wouldn’t it make sense to prepare for an event that will be more memorable than a wedding? My job is to help couples figure out how they will best work together so that the memories they make are precious, and not painful.
Zimbo Paul - the Green Beret Farmer:
Z grew up mostly in Zambia and Rhodesia (Central and Southern Africa) and attended parochial schools. Rhodesia was largely agrarian and many of Z'jous friends at school were sons of farmers. It was Z's dream to become a farmer in high school. Immigration to the USA and enlistment into the army for university funding set Z off on another path. Z completed his enlistment, earned a BS in Chemical Engineering with minors in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioremediation and found employment in the oil industry traveling the world, (between the military, oil industry and personal travel Z has visited about 70 countries and lived in 15).
Z enjoyed the military and became a 'Green Beret' officer and did both the military and his engineering. The addition of 2 children to the family led to the decision to stop traveling. Z and family moved to Knoxville, bought 4 synergistic businesses, started 3 others and grouped them into a corporation. In 2004 Z went to war in Iraq. That was a challenging time. While he was away in Iraq, the businesses failed and he suffered combat injuries. Returning from military service in 2006, Z took the family on a 6-month family sabbatical to Costa Rica while the family decided what to do next.
We spent 1 month living in an eco-community off-grid on the Caribbean coast. Then we spent two months recovering from our off-grid experience living in an on-grid beach apartment. We spent the remaining time on a delightful dairy farm owned by an Amish midwife, which was our favorite part of our time there.
On our return to the US, we chose to care-take for a Michigan lake community based on Quaker principles. For the summer of 2007, we lived in a modified log cabin built in the 1800’s – and yes we had to use an outhouse just as they did back then!
All of these experiences taught me a lot about what I am willing to sacrifice and what things are really important to me and to my family. I appreciate the small things in life, like indoor plumbing, so much more now. I am willing to let spiders live in the outhouse if that means the mosquitoes have less chance to bite those "exposed" areas.
Vintage Quest Acres
When we returned from Costa Rica and Michigan, we knew that our answer was farming. Why Farming? We wanted to be part of the solution to problems such as:
- Overuse of chemicals is leading to the deterioration of farming soil.
- Chemicals on/in our food causes a plethora of subtle health issues.
- Importation of foods from thousands of miles away is wasteful of energy and harmful to the environment.
- Most people do not know much about how the food they consume is produced.
- Climate change is causing extreme weather such as hotter summers, colder winters, wetter rain seasons, dryer dry seasons, and more storms. All this reduces yields and threatens the food supply.
In July 2008, we purchased a 20 acre farm 40 miles south of Knoxville. Our daughter never asked for a pony, she always asked for the whole farm!
Vintage Quest Acres grows a diversity of products, because that is how a small farm survives. We don’t use chemicals, because we don’t want to eat them. We have poultry to supply us with eggs and to keep the bug population in check. For milk, we have miniature dairy cows, and dairy goats. We grow vegetables for our year-round Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. We are adding trees to our orchard for fruit. Long-term plans are to grow unique and unusual nutrient dense vegetables and fruits, including cranberry hibiscus, cape gooseberries, and gem squash.
What is the one thing you want the public to understand about your services that you feel they don’t? When a person goes to the grocery store, they get to choose the best of what the store has to offer. As a local farm, we don’t get the luxury of only presenting the prettiest tomato. Depending upon weather conditions, our produce may be misshapen, or vary in size. When consumers visit farmers’ markets, understand that the person selling the produce has worked hard to bring it to the market. Farmers plant, weed, and pick produce in all weather. That means when you are in heat or air conditioning, or under a roof, there is a farmer somewhere who has to be outside. Always thank those who make the physical sacrifice to produce food for your table.
We have drop off sites in Farragut, and downtown Knoxville. Check out www.poweredbynature.net for more information on Bloom Into Parenting, Naturally and Vintage Quest Acres.