Hi Everyone - I'm Karl Heinbockel. I'm 22 years old and I have lived in Little Rock all of my life. I graduated from Central High School in 2008 and Hendrix College (Conway, AR) in May of 2012 with a degree in Environmental Studies.
Since graduating from Hendrix, I have been working at Little Rock Urban Farming as a Project Manager. Before I talk about what I do, let me tell you about Little Rock Urban Farming (LRUF - pronounced "el-rough"). At LRUF, we grow organic vegetables, fruits, and flowers in the middle of the city to sell at local farmers' markets. LRUF is also working for the Heifer Project to help low-income farmers in Eastern Arkansas. I do a combination of helping with the garden operations (such as planting, harvesting, feeding the chickens, and selling at farmers' markets) and helping with our work for the Heifer Project.
How does the work we do improve the environment? At Little Rock Urban Farming, we are growing food without all of the nasty synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that are used in conventional agriculture. These nasty chemicals pollute our waterways, harm our health, and ruin our soils. We are avoiding these negative impacts by growing without nasty chemicals.
Another way we help improve the environment is by only having to drive short distances to reach the local farmers' markets where we sell. This means we use less gasoline, resulting in less pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
I chose to 'go green' with my career because humans are causing a lot of damage to the plant, and this damage needs to stop. We need to change our ways of living and working to take better care for the planet. I know we can do better, and I want to help make a positive impact (even if it is only a small impact).
In order to enter my career field, I did an internship with the Delta Garden Study - a program that puts gardens in middle schools and teaches them about healthy eating and living, math, and science all in a garden setting. After my internship was over, one of my supervisors - who happens to be the director of LRUF - asked me if I wanted to work for LRUF once I graduated from college. Of course, I said yes. The moral of the story here is that internships are a great way to get started on a career path that you are interested in.
My advice for young people who want to pursue green career paths is this: go for it! Learn as much as you can about our environmental problems and the solutions to those problems. Then, try to put some of those solutions into action! The world needs more people who can improve our environment, and I hope you all will work hard towards making your lives and communities more sustainable. Also, remember to have fun!
I would like to thank Mrs. Combs for inviting me to be your green career mentor, and I look forward to hearing and answering any questions you all have.
Hi!!!!! My name is hannah and I am studying to be a Chemical Engineer and i was wandering if in all your years of studying plants have u ever encountered a chemical that has affected the plants you have studied?????
Yes - there are many chemicals that affect the plants we grow and study at our farm. For an obvious example, water (H20) is a chemical compound that is vital for all of our plants. Another example: chemicals from pollution in the air negatively affect our plants.
One meaningful question I would ask is do you like this job in how much money you make.
Taylor, I do like my job even though I make very little money. Money is important for being able to cover your basic needs and expenses, but it really can't buy happiness. It is important to have a job that you enjoy and that keeps you healthy, even if it doesn't earn you lots of money.
I hope that helps,
Such good points!
I know money is not happiness but when I have a family of my own. I want to be able to support my family when I get a lot older.
Hi!! my name is Hailey, and I am in Mrs.Combs G.T class. I am doing a project on being a meteorologist, and I was wondering if you could answer a very important question for me. How does the weather affect your day?
Hailey, Weather is very important for farming. Weather determines what crops you can grow, when to plant your crops, how much you have to water your crops, etc.
For example, the recent snow/ice storm had a big effect on our farm. The snow and ice caused a pine tree to fall and damage one of our greenhouses. There were also many broken tree limbs and broken bamboo to deal with. We had to spend a full week cleaning up our farm after the storm!
Hi!! Karl, my name is Nate Hamilton I am in Mrs.Combs GT class I have a Question for you.What makes fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides harmful to people. Thank you.
Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are not natural. These chemicals were originally used as weapons in World Wars 1 and 2 to hurt enemies! There were leftover chemicals from the wars, so we started using them for agriculture.
These chemicals are bad for humans because they are toxic and have been found to cause cancer.
Hi I am Brittany Farris. I am in Mrs. Combs class I am working on a green carrer project. we have to cose an envermental carrer. I chose enviermental science teacher. When yuo were younger did someone inspire you to be a Environmental Studies? Did you ver want to be a enviermental science teacher?
Yes - I had a couple of teachers in high school and college that inspired me to study environmental science issues. Without their influence, I doubt I would be working at an urban farm right now.
I'm not sure if I want to be an environmental science teacher at some point. Maybe.
I hope your project goes well,
Hi! My name is Habiba, and my career is an astronaut. I would like to ask you a question. If you were an astronaut, would you cinsider your career an environmental career? thnx
Yes, you could consider being an astronaut as an environmental career. Astronauts actually helped to start environmentalism with their photos of the world from outer space. These photos of the world helped people to understand that the world is not infinite, and that it is actually somewhat fragile.,,that we need to take care of it if we want to survive as a species.
Photos of Earth from space are amazing! Thank goodness for the perspective astronauts have provided us!
Habiba, framing a question to fit your audience will help you to get a better answer! Consider how the career you are studying might relate with Mr. Heinbockel's career. I wonder if he knows of any useful, relevant space missions that have studied farming or have resulted in widespread use of some technology developed for use in space that benefits the organic farming industry somehow.
Hi my name is jordan collins i am in Mrs.Combs class and doing a project on design engineers. I was wondering how do you think of the world's technology?
Jordan, it might be helpful to explain what design engineers do. How does this relate to farming?
Thanks for the responce!!!!! :)
Hi, im Braeden my career is an Material Engineer. The people who do this job take materials like plastic and make them better for the enviroment. My question is that in your job do you have any things or materials you use that have been modified to be better for the enviroment.
We use a few materials on our farm that are designed to help us treat the environment better. One example is plastic drip irrigation - this is like a hose with a bunch of holes running along its length. This plastic drip irrigation allows us to put water only only the plants that need it, rather than using a sprinker. Thus, we use less water.
hi my name is jordan i am learning about design engineers.My question is do you use any technology every day that relates to your job.
We use technology all of the time. Computers are really important to our operation. We use computers and iPhones for email, calling one another, writing reports, organizing information, scheduling appointments, and promoting our operation.
There is other (more basic) technology that is realy important, too. You might not think of a shovel, or a rake, or a wheelbarrow as technology but they are. Someone had to design all of these things, and they all help us to farm more efficiently.
Hey, Karl, do tou think that if we don't care about our planet, it will end up like Wall-E?
I don't know. I am hopeful that we will care about our planet, and won't have to see it turn into a giant landfill like it is in Wall-E.
What do you think?
RSVP by Thurs., Jan 31, 2013
Hi, my name is Matthew and I'm working on a project in G.T. where I learn about a green career , and I chose to do it on a chemistry teacher. The question I want to ask you is how do chemicals effect farming and how can chemicals be used to help farming.
Chemicals are widely used in agriculture. As I told Hannah, water is a natural chemical compound (H20) that is essential to farming.
However, there are many unnatural chemicals used in farming, too. Synthetic (man-made) chemicals used in many farming operations include fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. While these chemicals can help farmers grow more crops, these man-made chemicals are often poisonous to humans, especially the farm workers that are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis.
There are some chemicals that help farmers grow more food, without as many nasty side-effects. These chemicals are approved for use in organic farming.
I hope that helps,
Hi im Luke, and I am studying to be a Plant Scientist. Becuase of your experience with plants, how do plants help the environment?
Plants can provide all sorts of benefits to the environment. They absorb carbon dioxide to help keep our planet from warming. They have roots that help keep the soil in place to prevent erosion. They help clean polluted areas and keep ecosystems balanced. They usually look nice, too!
In all of your years of "gardening," have you ever worked with a food scientist-- the job I like-- to get pesticides out of foods, or to discover a new food that is edible for humans? Thanks, David
Good question. I have never worked with a food scientist before, but that sounds interesting! Maybe I will work with YOU someday to get pesticides out of foods or find new foods!
thanks for that perfect anwer, thats the answer i was looking for.
Hello Karl i was wanting to know if a soil scientist has ever helped you and what they helped you with.
Yes, we sometimes send soil samples to local soil scientists. They put our soil through tests to determine if it has enough nutrients and minerals to grow our plants successfully. The soil scientists can also tell us if there is anything bad in the soil that we should watch out for (such as heavy metals).
Hi Mr.Karl my name is Graci. My career is an aquarist they r like zookerpers for under water animals. Have you ever interfearerd with an aquarist or heard of one if you have how is your career like this career
We don't directly work with any aquarists, However, we have a children's education program that we hold at our farm, and we have had experts in aquatic species talk to the kids about the aquatic species in the creek next to our farm.
How is being a farmer like being an aquarist? Well, both help maintain life. The farmer maintains the life of the plants. The aquarist maintains the life of the underwater creatures.
If you are curious, research "aquaponics" to see how people are combining the job of farmer and the job of aquarist into one job.
Gwendolynn Millen Combs