New FHC media materials clerk Jaye Beeler is an accomplished author and cook


A connecting and beautiful gift.

Around the table, media materials clerk Jaye Beeler and her family sit together, and this is how she views the food placed in front of them: a connecting and beautiful gift.

“So, the reason I like food is because I think it’s so connecting,” Beeler said. “We always try to make sure at my house that we have dinner together as a family. That’s where we come together, and we share the stories that happened to us that day.”

Beeler strives to come together as a family with her husband and her three kids, Nico, Natalie, and Jackie. One way to do this, Beeler found, is around food.

However, Beeler’s love for food didn’t just sprout out of nowhere; instead, it began when she was a kid. Specifically, it began with the fact that her father used to cook for her family.

“My dad always brought so much joy [with food],” Beeler said. “We always had enough food for whoever would stop by, and he made food really beautifully.”

Drawing from her experiences growing up, Beeler has not only carried her love for food and her encompassed value of creating connections into her own family, but it has also become the backbone of her career.

Since Sept 28, Beeler has been able to carry these notions into the school. One reason she is able to work as a media materials clerk in the library lends itself to one project: her book.

Beeler captures her idea of the joy and connection food can create between people with a book that she wrote. In Tasting and Touring Michigan’s Homegrown Food, Beeler features a plethora of farms, farmers, and their experiences with locally grown food.

“This book is about all of the tastemakers, the people who make and produce incredible food, whether they grow it or they create it,” Beeler said.

While creating this book, Beeler and her photographer, Dianne Carroll Burdick, went on 250 assignments and took around 10,000 photographs. These photographs consisted of not only farms but the people who tend the farms, as well.

Along the adventure, her recently born child at the time, came along. Through the photographs, Beeler was able to see her child grow over the course of a year.

“It was really kind of cool to see me create this book as my child grew into a toddler,” Beeler said.

Now, she spends most days around kids due to her current job working in the school library. Beeler has switched from the creator of a book to an organizer of books, and she has been able to use her past to benefit students by bringing more than what is expected of a typical librarian.

“The position can be so much more depending on who is in there,” teacher librarian Chris Patrick said. “It really is a position that you almost can bring as little as you want to the position… and she’s the type of person that will bring more than what is asked or expected of her.”

While working, Beeler spends most of her time in the library, but she has also branched further from her defined position. Recently, she has been conversing with science teacher Chad Scholten about helping with the greenhouse. By using her knowledge of food and growing food, Beeler has been able to become more than a worker in the library.

“I was like, ‘how did we land this person?’ ” Scholten said. “When you hear all of her background and her stories, and then she’s written this book… this is amazing for [students] to have someone like this. We’re very fortunate.”

What Scholten is trying to do with the greenhouse runs parallel with Beeler’s message contained within her book; therefore, they started working together.

“[The greenhouse] was kind of an extension of the classroom to show how we are connected to our food and the things that go into growing our food,” Scholten said. “When Mrs. Beeler showed off her book and says that’s what she has already done as an author, I’m like ‘this is fantastic.’ ”

Although there is no set plan as to how Beeler will aid in the greenhouse, she does want to work with it.

“I love growing,” Beeler said. “It’s just a wonderful thing to put something in the ground and see it grow. It’s so doable. So, I just want to help grow.”

Helping in the greenhouse will allow Beeler to be a part of helping connect students with each other and with the environment. According to Principal Steve Passinault, her passion for food will reach further and help the school in a positive way.

“We believe that with her energy and her talents, she’s gonna be able to lend so much more to our school,” Passinault said.

Beginning in her childhood, Beeler has carried her own unique perspective on food. Whether it is in her home or at school, this idea can be seen in her life—the idea that food is an important, connecting gift.

This gift, in Beeler’s point of view, connects not only families but also people in general.

“When you sat down at the table it was like, ‘this is my gift to you, and my gift to you was that I love you, and I made this beautiful food for us to share together,’ ” Beeler said. “All of that sitting at the table and sharing of yourselves is what connects you to each other and what forms your family or your community that you are a part of.”