I’ve wanted to live on a farm for as long as I can remember. At 4 years old, I would have answered the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with one word: “farmer.” My dream was to own as many farm animals as possible! Living in the suburbs of Milwaukee, with no farmers in the family, that dream seemed pretty far-fetched.
Through high school and college, I put that idea aside to pursue a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a career as fashion buyer. After Andrew and I married in 2004, we moved to the Chicago suburbs so that I could take a job as a buyer at Claire’s Accessories. Though it didn’t seem like it, this move was the first step on our journey to farming.
In 2007, Olivia was born and I started learning about the impact of food additives and artificial ingredients on the human body. I also realized that I couldn’t keep up the frantic pace of working 60-hour weeks and caring for my baby. In 2008, I quit my full-time job to pursue part-time work blogging and to be able to raise my sweet baby girl. Elizabeth joined our family in 2009 and Asher in 2011.
Shortly after Asher’s birth, I experienced a major health crisis. Years of low-fat, high-carb eating, and a two-year stint as a vegan, had left me nutritionally unable to keep up with the demands of birthing and nursing three babies in five years. I was severely iron deficient, low in vitmin D, and unable to correctly digest protein. I began seeing a naturopath who prescribed a high-protein, real-food based diet and a handful of supplements to jump-start my ability to absorb nutrients from my food.
At that same time, I began learning about the Paleo diet and the importance of fresh, unprocessed foods. Being a single-income family severely limited the quality of the food we could purchase, but I did my best learning to shop sales, cook from scratch, and get creative using every part of a plant or animal. I began to dream of growing our own food and of making fresh, real food available to those around me. This was the next step on our journey.
In 2014, I found out about a community farm program run by a local food pantry and I jumped at the chance to join. That first year, we helped raise and process several hundred pounds of organic vegetables, three hogs, and 50 meat chickens. Though the work was hard and the learning curve was enormous, I found that the farm at Luke 3:11 Share Center was my happy place. The peace and joy I felt while at work in the field and pastures was like nothing I had ever experienced before. The following year, I took over as director of the farm and oversaw the growth of the farm to include raised-bed gardens and a focus on organic growing methods.
In 2017, Andrew took a job in Iowa, and we decided that it was time to purchase our family farm. Our home sits on 6 wooded acres with a beautiful creek running through it. We’ve thrown ourselves into farm life, tilling a huge garden, building a gorgeous chicken coop, and fencing in a goat pasture. This first year, we’re raising chickens for eggs and goats for weed control.
Thank you for joining us on our journey. Join our mailing list to follow out farm as it grows.