how we got here...
Our journey to farming began in 2010 when we started growing vegetables at our previous home. We had earlier that year made lifestyle changes that included our diet. After careful study, we became convinced that our diet was causing most all the health issues that our family was experiencing. We transitioned to vegans in a quest to become healthy and cleanse years of toxins from our bodies. Our sons were five and three at the time and suffering from allergies, eczema, and asthma, needing breathing treatments twice daily, in addition to constant sicknesses. Nneka also suffered from allergies and asthma and took meds daily in order to function. We were overweight and headed toward an imminent future of major health issues. Over the following year we became completely convinced that we were the outcome of what we put in our bodies. Our passion for healthy food, and lifestyle increased as we all witnessed the healing of bodies. These good choices directly resulted in: healthier kids and parents that were totally off meds, and significant weight loss.
We then became very mindful of where our food was coming from. The main reason we originally cut out meat and dairy was our lack of confidence in the quality of the supermarket food available to us. Learning how factory farming of produce and animals was taking place, we became very concerned about the food we consumed. So what better way to control what we ate than to grow it ourselves? Immersing ourselves in learning how to grow vegetables organically, we started a backyard garden. We built a formal raised-bed garden that, of course, had to look aesthetically pleasing, and started growing and learning hands-on. The farming bug had hit, especially after a visit to a couple of sustainable farms in the late summer of 2011. We started meeting with a farm consultant that helped us to form a farm model and plan for our future farm.
2012 began with the search for property that would meet our needs for a farm but also as a family. During this process, we learned it would not be a quick or easy task to find the perfect soil, location and scenery that we desired all with our tight budget. The strenuous search for land took almost 3 years, but it gave us an extended period with which to continue studying, learning, and soul-searching in preparation for a farming lifestyle. In the fall of 2014, we found land that met our needs and closed in January of 2015 on a 12-acre track of farm land just inside Rockingham County. It had great soil but definitely needed lots of sweat equity to become the beautiful farm that we envisioned. We then put our home on the market and stunningly watched as it sold on the first day. The whirlwind had just begun.
Construction started that summer on our property and we took on the task of contracting our home ourselves in order to save money. Our new home was finished in December and we moved in right before Christmas. Most of 2016 was spent on building a barn, installing infrastructure needed for our farm, and also working to transform our house into a home. We completed construction on one of the three high tunnels planned, and started building our washing and packing facility right before the end of the year. We are finishing it up this spring, just in time for harvest. We have come so far over the past few years and have, by the Grace of God, accomplished much in the short time we have lived here. There is so much work still needed and so many tasks to do, but we try to stop and take a deep breath, try to enjoy the process, moving forward one task and one day at a time. Sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed with all the building and the workload that comes with starting a farm, but we are living our dream life.