making a difference, one animal at a time
This year has been absolutely fantastic, but I have never been so exhausted in my whole life. LTD Farm has had some major ups and some downs, but all in all I’m completely thrilled. I have the animals and my customers to thank. The base of what LTD will be in the years to come has been laid down very thoroughly. I taught lots of classes and shared my homesteading skills, connected with tons of awesome people, made some cool media spots, and had a tremendous response to my favorite thing in the world- Duck Eggs. My 28 CSA shares filled up, and the stores working with my products have been amazing. I sold my first two pigs immediately, the Summer and Thanksgiving turkeys sold out, and I have had more and more requests for other humanely, respectfully, sustainably raised farm products. Chickens and lamb are on the top of the list.
So, in line with all this goodness, comes a man who sees my dream, and we fall in love. He’s studied permaculture design principles, and has his own business doing stonework design installations in and around the Twin Cities, which is very successful. He’s been growing organic vegetables, but is not so familiar with farm animals, despite being raised in a family that farmed conventionally: pigs and cattle and soybeans and corn. He loves how I am with my animals, loves my philosophy behind raising them with care, respect, gratitude, compassion. He also loves the intimacy of small scale farming, and he strives for self sufficiency, both close to my heart. We started working on a plan for farming together the following year. Andrew and I have also been friends for years, he is someone I have always respected for his integrity and hard work.
Shortly after developing our 2011 farm business plan, a call comes from Cassie- one of my soap class students…her Co-Worker has some land for sale east of Amery. Now- you hear this kind of thing alot. Nevertheless, I call the owner, we decide to go see it that very day. Andrew has a good gut feeling about it even before we see it. My two younger sisters come along for the trip out there, and we are blown away at what we see. 39 acres of pristine land, untouched for 20 years. A little house, a bit ramshackle, but charming and liveable. A couple out-buildings, but mostly, this land takes our breath away. The owners have bought a place in Hawaii, and were just about to call a realtor- the next day in fact. But they are self described “old hippies” and had been focusing on the power of positive thinking and put good vibes out, hoping the right people would come along. And we did. Now we have signed the papers and this place is ours starting September 1st.
I had set up my 2010 farm plans as a single woman, farming on 1.8 acres. I had no clue how I was going to make it happen, but I did. The three most important things to me were (and are): humanely raised and harvested animals, spreading confidence and homesteading skills, and connecting people directly with their foods. The response to these mantras has been so heartening. People do care about their food, about the people who raise it and they care about the earth around them. They make choices and connections to farmers who are doing it right. Not everyone is able to raise farm animals, but they can choose the best, most conscientious farmers to do it for them.
When Food Inc. came out, most people were absolutely horrified at the facts that are so clearly laid on in this documentary. The industrial food system is disgusting, for the people who work within it, and for the animals who are merely meat commodities. The majority of farm animals in this country are not treated as beautiful beings who will nourish us. Look at the health of this country- I’ll go out on a limb and say that there is a direct connection between our nation’s terrible state of health overall and the meat that is generally consumed. If you eat miserable foods, you probably will be making a route in your body for that misery.
Next year, we are ready to take on so much more than was ever possible on my 1.8 acres. This week we are beginning the move to our new farm land of 39 acres, and will begin setting up the infrastructure for LTD Farm. Next year, we’ll be raising a few more pigs, a few more turkeys, continue bringing the best, freshest duck eggs to Co-ops in the Cities and, through our CSA, be personal farmers for even more wonderful customers. We’ll be hosting numerous workshops on the farm in 2011, covering a large range topics – permaculture design, fermenting, poultry processing, goat care, soap making, homebrewing, canning, cheesemaking, dry stone landscaping, pickling, humane harvesting, sausage making….and much more. We’ll have all of them posted here on the website, so keep in touch. Let us know what you’re looking for as well, it is our mission to be your personal farmers! Thanks for everything…