UNH Extension staff are in the field every day, working with Granite State residents to make life better in New Hampshire. Because they’re so often on the go, getting to know our specialists and educators can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created In the Weeds, an ongoing series of interviews with Extension staff. Get to know the people behind our programs, discover new opportunities and pick up a few music recommendations along the way.
Name: Jonathan Ebba
Title: Food and Agriculture Field Specialist, Hillsborough County
Start Date at Extension: June 2018
Why did you choose your field of work?
On the first day of the summer after eighth grade, I was playing a video game (back then, we called them computer games) with some friends, and I remember thinking, “Is this really what my summer is going to look like?” The friend to my right was the son of the owner of a local apple orchard and I asked him if he thought his father would give me a job. I started the next day, and fell in love with agriculture. Some years later, I saw the level of precision, science and technology possible in greenhouse growing and knew that was for me!
If you were told that you could only have one tool to do your job at Extension, what would it be?
I should probably answer something profound and witty, like, email, my brain, the brain of the person with whom I’m consulting, compassion, water bottle, etc. But, I’m going to go with a Hanna 9813-6 Electrical Conductivity and pH meter—with calibration solutions.
Describe a memorable experience you have had in your career as an educator.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting a new grower in Nashua. This young man had been a student of mine at the Thompson School, and now, through Extension, I am able to see him apply his training and education as his business grows.
If you had to make a playlist to accompany your program, what five songs would you add first?
Not to accompany the program, mind you, but maybe to accompany me as I drive for it:
- “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
- “Untold Stories” by Buju Banton
- “Spiritual State” by Nujabes
- “Whiskey in the Jar” by Grateful Dead
- “Requiem in D Minor - Dies Irae” by Mozart
If there was one thing you would want everyone to know about your field of expertise, what would it be?
There are so many good jobs that offer a high quality of life and high job satisfaction in the field of horticulture right now! I would encourage anyone interested in the field to find a local business owner and just chat about what horticulture has to offer professionally. It’s so much more than hobby: It’s science, art, passion, fresh air, creation, sustenance and beauty!
How can people get in touch with you or learn more about your programming?
Do you have any events coming up that you are excited about?
The Joint Winter Meeting of the NH Plant Growers Association and NH Landscapers Association in Concord in January. I will bring some young people to give their perspective on how to hire and retain millennials and Gen Z.
What Extension program, outside of your program area, would we most likely find you at in your free time?
I love to spend time in the forest. Maybe Saving Special Places?
Anything else you would like to share?
It’s really an honor to be with Extension. When I worked in the greenhouse industry, UNH Cooperative Extension shaped the type of grower I became and inspired me to bring more science to the art. To have the privilege of being on the other side of that equation is a real joy!