Jealousy, Awe, and Inspiration!
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This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit one of our current intern’s farms in upstate New York, Kilpatrick Family Farm. Michael Kilpatrick and his family run a sizeable CSA and do several farmers markets each week. As we walked their property, I saw rows upon rows of colorful and well-cared for vegetables gracing the landscape.  A dairy cow munched happily on grass in her paddock. Laying hens, dairy goats, turkeys – they were all there. Multiple greenhouses were full of tomatoes, peppers – even ginger!

I was blown away by the talent and commitment of each of the Kilpatrick siblings – they are a fine testament to young farmers. I was in a bit of a jealous awe of all they’ve accomplished.  I asked Michael how he got started – how had he gotten where he is today?  He told me he started with a few ducks – and I remembered once again that the theme of most successful farmers is that they were willing to start small.

 

 

A proud farmer, showing off his dirt.

Speaking of farmers who are willing to start small, for the past few years I’ve been reading the Cold Antler Farm blog by Jenna Woginrich. Yep, insert some more of that jealous awe right here, because  Jenna is doing this, this farming thing, on her own and out of the sheer love of it, and I think that is just plain incredible. She shares the successes and joys of her farm but she’s not afraid to tell you about the blood, sweat and tears that it requires. With Jenna, you know she’s going to write it like it is and yet still have you believing you can live your dream with a little blood, sweat and tears, too.

As luck would have it, Michael knows Jenna personally and she welcomed us to stop by her place on Sunday morning. I was a bit beside myself, and I probably opened the car door before Michael had even put it in park. To anyone who’s ever wanted to change their career and start farming, she’s a hero. And the best part about her? She wouldn’t want you to call her a hero. She’s just doing what she loves, what she believes in. She graciously spent time walking her property with us, introducing us to the sheep, horses, goats, and farm dogs, and sharing the stories and personalities of each. It really was magic, being there and talking with her.

Jenna pointed out the irony of a lamb (a grass-eating machine) next to the lawnmower.

Thank you, Michael and Jenna – I’m very grateful for your inspiring dedication to farming and for letting me see your operations up close.

Who is a farmer you look up to and why?

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.
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7 Responses to Jealousy, Awe, and Inspiration!

  1. Kristen says:

    This is so inspiring, Brie! I loved hearing about your adventures this weekend. 🙂 Ever since, I keep thinking “do what you can with the little things God gives you” because one day the little things could be the big things.

  2. Leilani says:

    Great photos and an excellent sentiment. When we start slow and learn as we go, we succeed.

  3. kimberly says:

    I love this!
    We left our lives behind last year in Denver and moved to rural Idaho. Goats, cow, chickens, and lots of work later–we are doing this life! We sell as much as we can at a Farmers Market nearby. We live really simply now with just us and our little kids on five acres building a farm and a life worth living. I look up to a gal I met almost 20 years ago who was doing all this on her own long before I ever thought of it on a little farm in Hesperus, Colorado. Maybe someday, I’ll be someone’s inspiration…

  4. I read about your visit on Jenna’s blog, then saw this one – it was fun to get both perspectives. What an inspiring weekend you had, with your visits. I love the photos!

  5. Cyndi Lewis says:

    I love reading Jenna’s books. I look to her for a lot of inspiration and of course Joel. I also enjoy Noah Sanders and Kristan Kimball.

  6. MY POPS IS MY INSPIRATION. WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING APPROVED FOR A RENT TO OWN OPTION ON 8.08 ACRE WHICH MY SON IN LAW AND DAUGHTER AND SOON TO BE TWO GRAND DAUGHTERS CAN LIVE AND FARM. I AM ALSO HOPING WE CAN BE APPROVED AFTER A YEAR FOR THE ADJOURNING 23 ACRES AND GET ALL 5 OF THE OTHER KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES TO MOVE THERE AND HELP OUT. PLUS MY SON IN LAW IS GOING TO OPEN A GARAGE HE IS AN EXCELLENT MECHANIC TO HELP OUT SO WE CAN GO SLOW I AM JUST HOPING TO BE ABLE TO BREAK EVEN ON COSTS WITH ENOUGH LEFT FOR THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE I HAVE NO DESIRE TO MAKE A BUNCH OF MONEY I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO RAISE ENOUGH CHICKENS BUNNIES AND GOATS AND COWS TO DONATE TO THE LOCAL FOOD BANK ENOUGH TO KNOW WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND TO GROW ENOUGH TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY FAMILY THAT COMES IN TO THE FOOD BANK WILL HAVE AT LEAST SOME FRESH FRUIT OR VEGETABLES AND SOME HOME GROWN MEAT OF SOME KIND I THINK IT WOULD BE AMAZING TO KNOW WE MAY BE ABLE TO GIVE SOME FAMILY THE FIRST TRULY NATURAL AND HEALTHY FOOD THEY WILL EVER HAVE. IF WE EAT NATURALLY AND FEED OUR ANIMALS NATURALLY LIKE GOD INTENDED WE WILL ALL BE HEALTHIER ANIMAL AND HUMAN AND I THINK HAPPIER TOO. WISH ME LUCK I AM PRAYING THAT WE GET APPROVED FOR THE OWNER FINANCING.