Mark and Theresa Westbrock (rhymes with “rock”) moved to Iowa in August, 2017 from Las Cruces, New Mexico. Theresa is a librarian, and received her degree in library science from Wayne State University in Detroit. Mark received his undergrad degree in biology at UCSB, and his masters from Wake Forest. The two met while Mark was doing some teaching at the University of Michigan Biology Station where Theresa was the librarian, a position she held for six years.
Mark spent a great deal of time during his masters education living and studying at the Galapagos Islands. Mark lived in a tent for about a year and a half on the Galapagos while studying seabirds. Theresa’s work as a librarian took her from Michigan to New Mexico State University in 2006, where she worked until 2017.
Theresa now is a librarian at the University of Northern Iowa Library. This career change prompted the move to Iowa. Mark became interested in organic and sustainable farming some years ago, and now operates Solstice Farm just outside of Waverly. Solstice Farm produces chicken, turkey, eggs, and pork, and is present at several farmers markets, including the Thursday market on College Hill.
Theresa and Mark live on the farm with their daughter Robin, along with two dogs and a couple of barn cats. Their farmhouse is just off of the Waverly Rail Trail, so they have ready access to a bike trail to enjoy one of their many interests, which also include hiking, camping and water activities.
Since moving to Iowa, Mark did an internship with Joia Food Farm, and started Solstice Farm from there. He had previously been involved in hobby farming for about 15 years. The Farm currently has Berkshire and Tamworth swine, a variety of egg layer chickens, Cornish Cross and Robust White meat chickens, and a couple of varieties of turkeys. Orders are taken for pork and both processed turkey and chicken. Development plans for the farm include expanding the operation, and adding an organic orchard and bees.
Theresa is quite happy with her position at UNI. In addition to Solstice Farm, Mark also works part-time with Simpleray doing solar electric design work, sales support, and installations in residential, commercial, and utility applications. Mark has prior experience in solar power, and enjoys this line of work as well.
Theresa has prior experience with food co-ops, and has served as the President of the Board for Mountain View Market Coop in Las Cruces. Mark is currently on the Operations Committee for our very own Co-op. They view a Co-op as a centralized place for locally and sustainably produced food, as well as a place that keeps spending local while helping to build community. Be sure and introduce yourself to these wonderful folks when you have the opportunity.