Joseph Griego was raised on a family farm where he participated in everything from collecting eggs, milking the cow, and making cheese and butter, to butchering animals on the farm. Since 2008, he and his wife, Ruth Ann, have been homesteading once again with their four boys, Castillo, Ronald, Joseph Paul, and Dakota Joe, raising livestock and crops at Ranchito Organic Farm in Mora, New Mexico. This homestead is different than the family farm where Joseph was raised because Joseph and Ruth Ann are using only holistic and organic practices.
Although Bill and Laura Berube had always lived in the suburbs, they both loved animals and were interested in one day moving to a farm to raise them. Taking a Beginning Farmer course at the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota was an important step towards realizing their dreams. For although the Berubes weren’t able to complete the course due to other commitments, it gave them the knowledge and inspiration they needed to explore their livestock options when they eventually purchased the 40-acre dairy in Split Rock Township in 2007. After considering sheep, horses, and cattle, they decided on goats—the right size for their small property, and a browsing animal that was well-adapted to the farm environment.
Sandra Higareda and her husband, Paco, began raising laying hens when they moved with their three children to Browns Valley, California, a small rural community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in 2002. At first, their intention was to raise fresh food for the immediate family, but then Sandra’s mother wanted some of the delicious farm-fresh eggs. Soon after, her brother asked for some eggs, and it wasn’t long until neighbors started asking, too. By 2010, the operation on their small acreage was growing as demand increased and they started taking the whole thing a lot more seriously.
Portland, Oregon, is a mecca for small urban farms of a half-acre or smaller, according to Augustus Gibson. She and her partner, Margo Liszka, were lucky to find a three-acre property in 2010 on the edge of the city. The couple had years of experience growing on a very small scale, in addition to Augustus’s experience being raised in central Oregon’s ranching country and two decades of veterinary experience. Their small farm, which they named Naked Acres, gave them just enough space to begin expansion. In their first year, Margo and Augustus spent a lot of time digging garden beds by hand and sold produce and eggs at local farmers’ markets.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 23, 2013
Shelly McMahon raises Animal Welfare Approved laying hens on pasture in Brentwood, California. Raising chickens on pasture allows her birds to roam and perform their natural behaviors—pecking and scratching for bugs and seeds and taking dust baths. Hens are given fresh water, nesting boxes, and perches, and they are rotated to new pastures regularly so they always have access to fresh grass. In addition to what the hens forage, Shelly’s Farm Fresh chickens receive a custom blend of grains, ensuring that there are no unnecessary fillers or antibiotics in the feed.
Rock Bottom Ranch is a site of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), an Aspen-based non-profit organization whose mission is “to inspire a life-long commitment to the Earth by educating for environmental responsibility, conserving and restoring the balance of natural communities and advancing the ethic that the Earth must be respected and nurtured.”
For the past 30 years, Duncan and Susan Blair have been in the business of raising cattle everywhere from Wickenburg, Arizona and Santa Barbara County, California to La Pampa Province in Argentina. Since 2006, however, they have focused on producing grass-finished beef in the tradition of Argentina in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, where they hold grazing permits to 11,508 acres of the Coronado National Forest along the international border with Mexico.
David Anderson and Marie Chandoha are the first to admit the name of their farm—Quailbrook Farm at a Place of Hope and Beauty—might be a bit of a mouthful! But, as David explains, it serves a purpose: “The name helps us remember what we’re doing here, what it’s all about.”
BN Acres has a remarkable farming history. The Boyst family can trace the heritage of their farm back for centuries; indeed, they recently applied to join NC Department of Agriculture’s Century Farm, which recognizes farms which have had continuous ownership by a single family for 100 years or more.
Michael Shane Lee raises AWA pigs at Lee Farm in Four Oaks, North Carolina.