Mary Batten and Jim Bowls

Photo of Mary Batten and Jim Bowls Husband and wife team, Mary Batten and Jim Bowls, hope to one day own a small organic and sustainable farm.

Like many parts of their lives together, husband and wife Jim Bowls and Mary Batten, are continuing their education together. The Haywood Community College horticulture students may continue their education after finishing HCC but their long range plans include owning land where they can have a small organic and sustainable farm.

The couple met in Florida and eventually moved to the mountains where they had visited throughout the years. “I really like the mountain philosophy of supporting locals,” Jim explains.

In Florida, Jim spent a number of years working for a homeless shelter where he was involved in various aspects such as case management and street outreach. Mary spent time in management of a friend’s Italian restaurants. Together they have worked at Greenlife Grocery in Asheville.

At HCC, both Jim and Mary are officers for the 2011-12 Student Government Association. Mary is president and Jim is secretary. Mary says being involved is a way for her to make the most of her community college experience. “There are great experiences here,” she says. “This a neat learning experience and I like to keep a full plate and stay busy.”

Through SGA, Mary hopes to get the desires of students heard. “The Student Government Association is the middleman between students and faculty and staff. This is a platform for them. It’s a way to build a solid bridge of communication. It is important and vital.”

For Jim, being involved in SGA is important because it takes students to know what students need.

While in school, the couple works for Carolina Bison. Through this experience, they have seen firsthand what it takes to maintain a large plot of land.

On their farm, Mary and Jim hope to one day grow a variety of products from mushrooms and chickens, to herbs, medicinal and edible flowers, and honey. They plan to sell these items to local restaurants and at farmer’s markets.

When selecting which school they would attend, Mary and Jim did their homework. While on a tour, Mary says she remembers thinking that she could see herself here as a student. “I knew I wouldn’t have succeeded at a large school where I was just a number. It was an easy transition to get back into school here. I had a lot of support.”

Both Mary and Jim like the fact that the entire campus is a designated arboretum. “Natural resources students have the trees they are studying right here,” Jim says.

In their spare time, Mary and Jim enjoy gardening, reading, hiking, and exploring the mountains.

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