Ali Clark, Arts ’11, aims to make eating healthy and gooey.
As general partner of the Big Muddy Urban Farm collective and owner of the Snowshoe Candy Co., both based in Omaha, she is a food producer and local foods advocate. Her passion for local was planted at Marquette, where she was heavily involved with Students for an Environmentally Active Campus, the Urban Eden Community Garden and Growing Power.
When she was ready to graduate, she began a crowd-“finding” campaign. “Hi! I’m this excited young person thinking about moving to Omaha,” she wrote in emails. “Will you share some resources with me?”
Before long she was living in a house with like-minded local advocates. Those first few relationships helped pave the way for a network that in 2011 became the Big Muddy Farm. The five-person team grows hearty root vegetables, onions, sweet potatoes, herbs and more on six plots, and has a chicken coop, with plans for more farm animals. “They’re a gateway animal,” Clark jokes of the hens.
Big Muddy’s wares are part of a 50-share CSA program, with harvests sold to restaurants and at farmers’ markets in the Omaha area. The team also hosts work-shops on urban farming in an area that was rife with crime in the 1980s.
“Fifteen years ago a different community garden helped the neighborhood become a leader in changing its landscape. How neat is it for our community to see what’s growing here?” she asks. “We’re proudly carrying on that tradition.”
Speaking of tradition, Clark is carrying on a family one, too: gooey homemade caramels. Her grandfather taught her his “sacred recipe,” which she extended to other treats. — BDJ