After an encounter with a crop duster in 2006, Lisa Munniksma, who was then doing marketing for the horse industry, reconsidered her career and decided she wanted to learn more about how food was produced.

“At that time, I was freelance writing mainly about horses,” Munniksma said. “I was outside with my horse and my dog and a crop duster flew very close over head. That’s what made me take the turn from horse farming to food farming.”

Munniksma, a native of Northwest New Jersey, has a degree in animal science and communications from Delaware Valley University. Her first job related to food farming was for Hobby Farms magazine. She became the editor in 2008.

In 2011, she came to the realization that instead of just sitting behind a desk and writing about farming, she needed to learn hands on about the industry.

“So I quit my job and traveled around the world working on farms,” she said.

For two years, she traveled all over the U.S., Europe, Turkey and Puerto Rico working on farms.

“I worked at a goat dairy farm and learned to make cheese in France. I worked at a bakery in Greece. I worked at a small scale organic far in Oregon,” she said.

In 2013, she moved to Meade County to work on a diversified livestock and organic vegetable farm. She stayed there for three years before moving to Georgetown to work on a farm. In December 2017, she was hired as the Franklin County Farmers Market community engagement coordinator. The position is funded by a grant through U.S. Department of Agriculture.

FRANK.: What’s your philosophy on farming?

Munniksma: Personally, I’m an organic farmer. Larger than that, I believe in supporting small scale local farmers rather than the large scale industrial farming we’ve all come to rely on. That incident with the duster was the starting point of this.

FRANK.: Do you miss your writing job?

Munniksma: I have no regrets. Having quit a perfectly good career that paid well to go out and be a bum for years — I don’t regret a minute of that experience or the stories.

FRANK.: What was the most surprising thing you learned about other cultures while traveling?

Munniksma: I think I was surprised to learn that other cultures hold food in higher regard than our culture does. Farmers everywhere are struggling. It was eye-opening how good a lot of us have it here.

FRANK.: What are some of your job duties?

Munniksma: A lot of people think I am the farmers market manager, but that is not true. My job is to do marketing for the farmers market — to educate people about what the market offers, and fresh food in general. I also manage some of the special events like Kids Days and the chef demonstrations. I organize the extra projects like the Farm to Frankfort Delivery Program and the South Frankfort Food Share. I helped start those two programs. I also helped start the South Frankfort Food Share.

FRANK.: How do you like living and working in Frankfort?

Munniksma: I think I like Frankfort more than most people thought I was going to. I like that it is a quiet place, but there’s always something to do. In Lexington and Louisville, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things happening. Here, there is the right amount of things. I like being here downtown and going through all this redevelopment. It’s exciting to see what can happen next.

FRANK.: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Munniksma: I’m a food tourist, for sure. I love going to farmers markets. On my rare Saturday off, I’ll go to a market in Lexington or Louisville. I garden at my best friend’s farm on the border of Scott and Franklin counties. I grow primarily herbs. I still really enjoy writing and traveling when possible. I like to be outside whenever I can. I love hiking and camping. 

I also love being in the kitchen. My friend Rachel (Dupree) and I tend to have full day cooking adventures. Seasonal eating is really important to me.