In order to make interesting work, you have to live an interesting life. That’s why Fresh Produce introduced a sabbatical program in 2017. Team members take 2-8 (depending on the length of their employment) consecutive weeks of mandatory, paid time to work on a personal, creative, or community-focused project. In 2017, Katrina Lehr-McKinney used her sabbatical to facilitate workshops for artists across South Dakota. This year, Kyle Jameson used his sabbatical to live in Barcelona for a month, while Brian Bieber filmed a feature-length documentary. Brian shared some of his notes from months of interviews, collecting old footage, and travels across the country.
Earlier this year I started working on a feature-length documentary about the kids who made the Sioux Falls punk scene, and how the Sioux Falls punk scene made them into adults.
Many of the people I’ve interviewed for the project live in different parts of the country, so I used my sabbatical to do the bulk of necessary traveling. I also spent a lot of time logging footage and—because sometimes I forgot to white balance correctly—learning how color grading works.
I ate all kinds of great vegan food in Seattle, especially at my friend Yuki’s restaurants, Café Pettirosso and Bang Bang Café. Otherwise, I just tried to avoid gas station food and drive-thrus, and ate an Impossible burger whenever I could find one on a menu.
A person stuck in cars and planes for a month can only spend so much time catching up on podcasts before they start craving loud abrasive guitar music, so I spent a lot of my sabbatical listening to the music I’ve been listening to since I was 15, plus some newer stuff that I would definitely also be listening to if I was 15 today.