Little Rock Urban Farming

Andrew Kenley’s Bio

After graduating high school, as most young people tend to be, I was unsure of what profession suited me. Logically, university seemed a good a place to begin sifting through my options; six years, three major changes, and one bachelors of fine arts degree later, I was hired as the Art Director at Rainey Electronics, Inc. In my role as Art Director I gained valuable experience in project management, marketing and branding and the importance of a strong work ethic. However, three years in front of a computer in a windowless office was enough. It was time for a change.

During my collegiate years I picked up distance running and a healthy diet, although my diet was geared more towards high protein and low fat than organics and environmental sustainability, I consider this my first steps towards my future career in professional landscaping with an emphasis on organic and sustainable practices and overall healthy lifestyle.

Midway though my last year as an Art Director I moved to 811 N. Grant st. where, much to my delight and surprise, I found there were two green houses in what was essentially my back yard. I quickly realized I wanted to be a part of the good food movement. I spent the next few months getting to know my neighbors at Little Rock Urban Farming and eventually took on a full-time apprenticeship.

My time at LRUF opened my eyes to the idea of sustainability/organics in our food systems and instilled a love for cultivating and growing plants. It also gave me time to read, brainstorm and have stimulating discussions with my fellow apprentices, one of which has been my best friend since ninth grade and is now my business partner, Kyle Melton. After my time at LRUF I wanted to use my new found knowledge of organic farming techniques and soil management to change the way home owners and businesses managed their properties. Kyle and I set out to build a business that could help us achieve this objective. We built Natural State Horticare around the idea that we could empower people in our community by teaching them how to grow organic food for themselves. Kyle and I have a desire to create a business that will be a beacon of progress here in Arkansas.

The life I have imagined and strive for is one of a catalyst for change. I want to change the status quo and contribute to making my hometown a more environmentally conscious and sustainable place to live. At twenty-eight I found the profession that suits me, the profession of organic horticulture and high quality craftsmanship.

A special thanks to Chris Hiryak and the Little Rock Urban Farming apprenticeship program.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”- Henry David Thoreau, Walden