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Nick Routledge

The son of a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry, Nick Routledge enjoyed a childhood of privilege in Southeast Asia and an English boarding-school education. He studied banking and finance at a business school in London. "My buddies went into high finance," says Routledge, who instead went into writing, first as an reporter for the financial magazine Euromoney, and later, in the US, as a advocate of the internet in its early days. Recovering from a hunger strike that left him near death, Routledge moved to Noti, Oregon, in 1997, to work at a Chinese medicinal plant conservancy. "That fall I decided to give wisdom teachings a go," he says. "I gave up my few possessions and went for a walk. For a couple of years. I walked among farmers and gardeners who founded an avant-gardening collective: Food not Lawns." Since 2005, Routledge has lived in a small motor home as caretaker of Food for Lane County's Springfield Transitions Garden. He experiments with open-pollinated crop varieties, eats what he grows, writes extensively, and volunteers as supervisor of young adults with special needs. "The rewards are profound and beautiful," he notes. More at seedambassadors.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 9 July 2009

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