Ali works part-time at the Iva Library. Originally from Arizona, she moved to Iva 20 years ago and started her farm, the Generositee Gypsy farm. She has three daughters and one granddaughter.
What was it like moving from Arizona to Iva?
It was a bit of an adjustment to small-town life. I was an herbalist and a wildcrafter in Tuscon, meaning I would go into the mountains to gather and harvest herbs and plants for local businesses. So I miss the mountains, but there is so much more water here, which is very different! And I love the water, especially swimming and kayaking. There’s a creek that runs throughout my farm that you can actually swim in, and I live close to the Savannah River, so it’s easy to go kayaking there.
How long have you been farming?
About 20 years. It used to be a goat farm, but I didn’t really like that. You’d go out and have all these goats just staring at you, plus I had so much trouble keeping up with the fences and repairing their damage, that I switched to greenhouses instead. Well, technically high tunnels.
Primarily I grew vegetables and microgreens. I came here to farm herbs, too, medicinal ones and perennial ones. I was was Certified Naturally Grown, and had been doing some farmer’s markets and I supplied local grocers and chefs, but I’m taking a bit of a break right now. Now I like to walk through the woods, explore, and identify a lot of the plants growing wildly.
What brought you to working at the Iva Library?
I kind of stumbled into it, actually. I always brought my kids here when they were younger, and I’ve always liked this library. I came in to make a copy or something, and saw the open position. I love working here. My coworkers are great, my boss is wonderful, and all the patrons are wonderful. I really like pulling all the holds for people and getting them ready for patrons to check out. I also like unpacking all the new books or books coming here from other libraries.
People around town will see me and say, “I can’t believe you’re working at the library!” They’re so used to seeing me out in the fields, wearing clothes better suited for farming. But I love the library.
You can find Ali at the Iva Library, ready to help you find a book or maybe even help ID a plant.
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