For Matt Helms, growing things has always been a family affair. For more than 170 years and seven generations, his family has been farming in Belleville, Illinois. While his older brother currently runs the family farm, Helms has never lost interest in agriculture. His day job is at BioGenerator Ventures, which focuses on investment and development of startups in food and agriculture technology. He also used the farm to launch his own company: Ella & Ollie Popcorn.
Helms also spent a lot of time with his maternal grandfather, Oliver, working in his garden, riding along in the truck during harvest or making pies. “Food and cooking were a big thing in our family,” he notes. Sleepovers at his grandparents’ home also were a regular part of his childhood. When he’d stay over, Oliver would make popcorn on the stovetop. “We’d watch Hee Haw and Cardinals baseball,” he says.
“I have such fond memories of those times. It really made me a popcorn lover.”
When it came time to decide on a career, Helms briefly considered becoming a lawyer. However, his passion for plants and horticulture pushed him to pursue a degree in agronomics from the University of Illinois. “After my first agriculture job, I did briefly work as a consultant—having grown up on a farm, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything,” he notes. “It didn’t take long for me to figure out it wasn’t for me. I just kept going back to what I’m passionate about.”
Read the full story at: https://townandstyle.com/apronomics-matt-helms-of-ella-ollie-popcorn/