Words by Jennifer Walton.
It all started when a mutual friend thought Jackson Residents Nona Yehia and Penny McBride ought to meet. There were simply too many things they had in common. They were smart and savvy, loved food and architecture, the town of Jackson and its community, and well, they were cute and small in stature, and this friend thought they’d be a dynamic duo. Thankfully, her intuition was spot on, and that’s when the cultivation of a big idea began.
When Nona Yehia, an architect, whose firm E/Ye Design has become a force of innovative design in Jackson (Persephone Bakery, Picnic, Stio, the Hip Pocket Home, and the Teton Boulder Project), met McBride, a Northern Colorado farmer whose affinity for agricultural systems and knowledge of sustainable communities guides her everyday life, they discussed their desire to “provide and produce food locally and employ as many people as possible.” An ambitious goal, no doubt, when considering the obvious.
Jackson, Wyoming, is cold. Most months, the Tetons scrape the sky decorated in white. And, with the town’s altitude at 6,237 feet, it’s not the ideal location to plant a seed. The growing season is often less than 60 days, and bless the soul who is prepared to tackle the daily management of those precious tomatoes. But Yehia and McBride thought a less-than-distinguishable plot of land (30’ x 150’) owned by the Town of Jackson abutting a parking structure might be the solution to the growing concern of access to year-round fresh produce.