The son of an engineer, Michael Clark was following in his father’s footsteps when he decided to study engineering at UVa in the 1970s. While in college, he spent four months at an ashram in India studying meditation and metaphysics. Upon returning, he decided to dedicate his life and work to bridging the gap between Western materialism and individualism and Eastern philosophical and metaphysical ideals. After graduation, he began working as an engineer, all the while devoting his spare time to nurturing plants.

Michael had discovered his green thumb at age 5 when he began growing tomatoes in his Richmond suburb. In college, he grew hydroponic roses in his dorm. In 1984, while still working full time as an engineer, Michael bought and began to farm six acres to farm in Greene County. Fifteen years into his career, he left engineering to become a full-time farmer. Today, Michael owns and works at Planet Earth Diversified, which has expanded from six to fifteen acres. Still an engineer at heart, Michael applies his intelligence and understanding of advanced technology to his organic farming operation. He continues to use hydroponics in his vegetable production, he is teaching himself Linux so he can eventually write computer code to outfit his five greenhouses with an automated monitoring system, and he employs motion graphics to create YouTube videos to help raise public understanding of independent farming.

Over the past 30 years, Michael has built a loyal network of followers who know him for the tenacity and commitment with which he runs his business. In 2012, Local Food Hub recognized him for his drive to reach excellence beyond what is expected with the Innovation in Agriculture award. On Saturdays, you can find Michael at Charlottesville’s farmers market selling a huge assortment of produce, as well as his signature vibrant green pesto.

Planet Earth Diversified is a Local Food Hub partner farm. We are proud to partner with Local Food Hub to connect small family farmers in Virginia to 4P FOODS customers.

Profile courtesy of Local Food Hub.

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