Founder & Program Director
"We are part of the ecosystem, not apart from it, and once you understand the difference you make decisions from an entirely new perspective."
Kate grew up on a 11th Century Amish-style (pre-industrial) farm and flour mill in West Wales. Her father taught agriculture practicum, her mother was a naturalist with a passion for fungi. Every day was an opportunity to learn. "I grew up with livestock, arable crops, beekeeping, orchards, wine making, beer brewing and a million other things. Everything we ate was made from scratch, much of it produced on ours and neighbor’s farms", says Kate. "I studied agricultural biology in high school, and was a Young Farmer (UK’s 4-H) for four years.”
Kate attended the Center for AgroEcology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California at Santa Cruz where she was certified in Eco-Horticulture, the gold standard for organic food production in the United States.
"It is my dream to help teach the next generation of blacksmiths; to pass on the skills and respect for this
trade and art to individuals who will carry it forward far into the future."
Richard Connolly, Co-Founder, grew up in southern Arizona and has been a blacksmith for over 40 years. He has trained and worked with several of the best-known blacksmiths in the country.
The work he creates ranges from the practical—such as wagons, carriages, tools, hardware, gates and fixtures—to the artistic and whimsical, as well as items that are a blend of both. He is very passionate about his craft, and wakes up every day excited about what he is going to tackle next.
Richard's focus right now is to build Red Mountain Forge, a school for new blacksmiths, so that he can share his enthusiasm and skills with others.
Permaculture in Action Intern
Mackenzie Martin joined us as an Intern in April 2019 and stayed for three months. She then returned to Canada to finalize her visa and will be with Deep Dirt until August 2020!
Mackenzie has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Linguistics from the University of Victoria, British-Columbia. Her passion for sustainable food systems, food security, and eating good food drove her to seek an opportunity to learn alongside Kate Tirion. She is learning everything from permaculture techniques and facilitation skills, to marketing and fundraising.
During her internship, Mackenzie also hopes to begin a partnership with the local Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.