Honors student plans for life after UMSL

UMSL senior Kristin Jordan plans to start law school and a sustainable farm after she graduates from the university in May.

If you have a humanities degree, you’ve likely been asked by someone at some point: “What are you going to do with that?” Senior Kristin Jordan knows exactly what she’s going to do after she earns diplomas in English and philosophy from the University of Missouri–St. Louis this spring. She plans to attend law school and start a sustainable farm with her husband. Both speak to her commitment to learning and leading a meaningful life.

The idea for law school stemmed out of a job she had as a legal administrative assistant at a law firm.

“I fell in love with the job and found myself wanting to do more and more. So, I decided to go to school and pursue that career,” said Jordan, 30, who lives on seven acres outside of Troy, Mo.

She’s interested in constitutional law and has set her sights on becoming an appellate judge.

But running a sustainable farm is a dream she shares with her husband, Ken, a network engineer for the U.S. Air Force. It will have a dairy herd, beef cattle, chickens, sheep and pigs – and it will be run as a fully sustainable operation. That means Jordan and her husband will use the best practices in farming to ensure proper irrigation, that chemicals are not used, and that healthy crops are used for feeding livestock, enriching the soil and stopping erosion.

“Right now the farm we are trying to buy is in Foristell, Mo. We are working on a partnership plan with a buy-out option (with the current owners),” Jordan said.

The idea behind buying the farm started after Jordan and her husband bought horses.

“We wanted to do what was best for them, so we learned about natural horsemanship,” Jordan said.

Natural horsemanship centers on the horse’s instincts and communication style.

After learning about their horses, they started to ask questions about the humane and ecologically sound way to raise other animals.

“The more knowledge we gained, the more horrified we became regarding the conditions of food animals,” she said. “Fortunately, we learned about how things can be done properly, to the benefit of us and our food resources.”

While she doesn’t have farming experience, she is currently helping at the farm and learning the ropes. The plan is to help her husband run the farm until she starts law school in the fall.

“By then, most of the heavy summer work will be completed, since chickens, eggs and even milk are all seasonal products,” Jordan said.

The couple’s hope is that the summer will be profitable enough for Ken to scale back hours at his current job and devote more time at the farm.

Jordan credits her time at UMSL for nurturing her curiosity and teaching her how to research.

“I think the greatest contributions I’ve received from my education are both the desire to ask questions and the ability to find good answers,” Jordan said. “For example, what is the best way to raise cattle?  I didn’t know, so I researched information, picked out the answers that I think make practical and ethical sense, and learned how to put those ideas into practice.”

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