It has been a long journey to get here. Josh and Mandy grew up in small towns in a rural area on the East Coast. While there were farms all around us, the thought never crossed our minds that we might actually like to farm. In fact, it took moving to Denver, Colorado before we began to think about it.
When we moved to Denver, we went from a two-income family to just one. To save
money, we began growing veggies in 5 gallon pickle buckets and window boxes in our postage-stamp sized backyard (we literally trimmed the yard with scissors). When we outgrew the yard, we rented two community garden plots. Mandy starting canning and freezing (and worrying about killing the whole family of botulism) for the first time but there was no way we could grow more than a few meals worth of food in our tiny space.
We also began looking at what we were eating from the store. We questioned how we felt about chemicals sprayed onto our fruits and veggies. We wondered why we were eating things grown thousands of miles away by someone we would never meet. We also thought more about meat grown in typical factory confinement farms: how the animals are treated, the amount of antibiotics they are given and the food they consume.
All these things brought us to the realization that we wanted to grow as much of our food as possible.
We quickly learned that in order to farm, regardless of the size you wanted, you had to have two important things: #1 land, #2 water. Both of these are sorely lacking in the areas of Colorado that still allowed Josh to keep his day job. So with a sigh and
one last gaze at those awesomely beautiful Rocky Mountains we headed to Wisconsin. We landed near Madison, Wisconsin and loved it. It had some of the best of both worlds for us, the green, lushness of our East Coast roots and the wide open spaces of the West we loved.
We have been very fortunate and love our new life on our small farm. It has been a lot of hard work for everyone since we purchased an old dairy farm that has seen better days.
But we have gotten exactly what we wanted: a great place for our family to grow. The kids have a wonderful, nature filled, dirt-and-mud-between-the-toes kind of childhood and we grow together more as a family. We raise animals that we love and treat with kindness and respect. We take pride in the products we grow for our neighbors, both near our home and across the United States. We help preserve breeds of animals that have been forgotten, tossed aside in favor of “faster-better-bigger”. We control what goes into (or mostly what doesn’t go into) our food. And best of all, we get to share what we raise with others who share some of the same values we do when it comes to how our food and fiber is grown.