A 17th Century garden in Plymouth, Mass. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

Mezzacello is a Twenty-First Century Urban Farm modeled after the 18th Century plantation Monticello and motivated by the independent ethics of 17th Century separatists and settlers who we know as pilgrims. We like to use the lessons from these agricultural and settler ideologies to inform and focus our mission here. I also personally like the dichotomy and anthropology of this. It magnifies and informs our mission and vision and influences our choices and perspectives.

The dichotomy of our perspectives reflects the best of Rick’s passion, hobbies, and talents and mine.

Rick is a Mayflower descendant, a horticulturalist, gardener, and a genealogist. I am an urban farmer, a futurist, and an educator. Our shared mission is both a genealogy of how we as a people came to know so much about creating something from nothing and the keen awareness of how people came to a place and created a life to sustain themselves and how we might do it again. Perhaps on Mars?

The Mayflower Compact that hangs in our dining room. Rick is a Mayflower descendant. I am the Martian. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

I often write and reflect on the applied STEM and systems aspects of Mezzacello. Truth be told, Rick’s work in genealogy influences my work greatly. His knowledge about the separatists aboard the Mayflower, their motivations, and struggles surprises and inspires me; what they endured, how they survived — wrangling life from every available resource — is an inspiration to me. His knowledge of Colonial Williamsburg and the social, physical, economic, and agricultural systems as well as their Georgian aesthetic influences my designs and systems. He tempers my graceless engineering with the certain and practical knowledge that something that is both useful and beautiful is a virtue.

I admire him for that. He is patient, kind, and demanding. He is also intelligent, well read, and empathetic. He knows I was raised by wolves. He knows very well that I NEED Mezzacello to productively and efficiently produce fresh, healthy food. He also knows how to do that with style and restraint informed by culture, proportion, history, and character. Every beautiful, useful system at Mezzacello has it’s genealogy with Rick. He does style and I do science. His influence and knowledge of what and who we were and my science and vision for what could be help me envision systems and best practices that might be useful for the next generation of separatists and settlers living on Mars or just creating urban oases in their own space here on Earth. Regardless, we work well together; Living in the past; for the future.

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