Harold “Skip” Connett is an organic farmer and writer in Central Texas. Along with his wife, Erin, and three children, he grows certified organic vegetables and heritage hogs on a five-acre historic farm – one of the last working farms within Austin’s city limits — as well as a 35-acre farm on the Colorado River in Bastrop County.
In 2005, Connett left the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to return to his farming roots. It was not, as his friends and family believed, a mid-life crisis, but rather a lifelong dream to make a decent and honest living from the land. A food activist and mentor to young farmers, Connett has served on the board of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Organic Industry Advisory Committee. He has presented at numerous conferences and universities on farming and food issues.
Before farming, Connett was a journalist for 25 years. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, Nature Medicine, and Rodale’s New Farm Magazine. His writing accomplishments include a National Press Club Award for investigative reporting. As speechwriter for two directors at the CDC, Connett grew increasingly alarmed at the public health consequences of our modern diet and the built environment. He was determined that his children would experience the slower, healthier lifestyle he knew growing up on a farm in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Starting a sustainable farm business from scratch has been harder yet more rewarding than Connett imagined. The convergence of record-breaking drought and heat, Texas Big-Ag politics, and the unprecedented loss of farmland around Austin make organic farming here the challenge of a lifetime.