Plano Star-courier > News
Planting innovation—from the boardroom to the farm
Bob Collins, founding board member of Collin College, is using his engineering expertise to create a one-of-a-kind organic herbal farm.
Retired from E-Systems in the 1990s, Collins pursued his desire to teach and began a second career at Texas A&M University-Commerce, where he still maintains a position. His free time is filled with designing, building and maintaining an herbal farm his son helped create last year.
Living in Farmersville with his wife, they have managed to create a unique rural transition after living in Plano for 17 years. The homestead began with nothing but land and a vision.
“We began looking for a place to build our home and decided this would be the best,” said Collins.
The backyard view overlooks the rolling hills of Farmersville, a pond and a wide variety of Texas topography.
Collin’s goal with his farm parallels his commitment to Collin County as a founding board member of the college.
“The important thing is to not lose the vision,” he said. “The greatest danger of success is clouding the vision.”
When he and eight other members of the board began planning for the college that would become the county’s only higher education resource, they only had a vision.
“The purpose of the board is to address the educational needs of Collin County,” Collins said. “We’ve come a long way since 1985, but we have to keep growing with the future.”
Collins shared his goals for the farm, and the processes he has taken to bring it to the success it has achieved. Careful planning, innovative ideas and resourcefulness are necessities in creating such a vital treasure.
Collin’s organic herbs are lush and pollinated naturally by two bee colonies on property. Using the water already on property, he designed an irrigation system for the plants; but before he began construction, he studied the soil, the most vital ingredient for the success of his farm.
“I took several samplings of the dirt here to scientists to run tests and with the information gathered from them, we were able to add other ingredients to the soil to create the rich nutritious environment our plants can thrive in,” Collins added. “I believe when we are here on earth, we should do what we can to leave it a better place,” said Collins.
Collins brings a unique representation in the boardroom because he served on Plano’s city council and lived in the urban city for almost two decades. Now having lived in rural Farmersville for nearly the same amount of time, he sees the education needs of Collin County expanding to more rural areas reaching residents who may not have access to the urban campuses. He looks forward to the Farmersville campus in the next few years developing a rich environment for more students to grow and succeed in the world.