After 22 years working in the high-tech industry in California’s Silicon Valley, Alison Charter-Smith wanted to do something truly worthwhile. She had already bought 97 acres of land near the mountain town of Felton, about six miles north of Santa Cruz, California, with her husband, Tony Jaehnichen. In 2010, she quit her job and began farming full time, establishing a flock of pasture-raised laying hens, which she housed in the big chicken coop that already existed on the property. In 2011, Tony sold his business and joined Alison on the farm. Alison and Tony named the farm Madrone Coast Farm, after the madrone trees that populate much of their land, along with redwoods, oak and maples. Their goal was to contribute to their community by producing great food.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 24, 2014
Phil Coombs raises Certified AWA pigs and sheep at Coombs Farm, LLC, in Fremont, New Hampshire. Phil’s grandparents ran a hatchery until the 80s and, when growing up, he often worked on his uncle’s farm, hoping to one day have a farm of his own. After meeting his wife, Karen, in the army they decided to pursue their dream of owning a farm when they returned.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 5, 2014
Jeffrey and Mary-Jean Henry raise AWA-certified dairy goats at Cranberry Creek Farm near Cresco in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Their herd is made up of American Alpine dairy goats, a versatile breed which is known for its high milk production and ability to thrive in a variety of climates.
Janet Pesaturo raises Animal Welfare Approved laying hens at One Acre Farm in Bolton, Massachusetts. The small farm sits on one acre of cleared land, just as the name suggests. In addition to being the home for her small flock of laying hens, Janet also grows a variety of fruit, berry, and nut-producing trees, shrubs, and vines, and tends to large vegetable and perennial flower gardens. The chickens range throughout a fenced area where apple trees, blueberry bushes, and hazelnut bushes provide shade and cover. Compost bins are also placed in the chicken yard, under the shade of the apple trees, providing additional fun and forage for the birds.
Michael Smith has worked in many types of agricultural production, including raising pigs, poultry, dairy goats and beef cattle, as well as greenhouse growing, grain crops and honey. In 2001, he was able to purchase his own farm and has been farming full-time since 2005.
Meagan Schalich’s grandfather established a sheep and chicken ranch in 1920, just one and half miles away from her and husband Brady’s current farm in Petaluma, California. For nine years the couple lived in a 100-year-old farm house on her family’s property until they were able to find their own land nearby in 2011. Brady, a contractor by trade, built the couple’s home and they went to work establishing Old Seeder Farm on the four-acre property, named after an ancient piece of farm equipment they unearthed while pruning an overgrown oak tree.
Eloy and Anita Roybal raise AWA-certified laying hens and beef cattle at E&A Ranch & Garden in Mora, New Mexico. E&A Ranch & Garden is a member of Los de Mora Local Growers’ Cooperative, Inc., a producer-owned cooperative made up of 35 family farms and ranches in the area. Selling through a cooperative can offer many advantages. For example, by aggregating and coordinating supply, the individual family farm members can secure larger market opportunities that would be impossible to achieve on their own, while cooperatives offer consumers the opportunity to purchase fresh, locally-produced food at a fair price.
Jackie Rossignol and Denis Black both come from farming backgrounds: Jackie’s parents were dairy farmers in New England and Denis’s family ranched in northeast New Mexico. They both studied agriculture—Jackie at the University of Connecticut and Denis at the University of New Mexico. When they eventually got together it just seemed inevitable that they would farm together.
A physician by trade, Wayne LeClair began farming in 1990 after attending conferences across the country to learn more about the many health benefits of eating beef raised only on grass. “I was excited to discover so much recent research that uncovered the health advantages of grassfed beef,” Wayne explains. “I serendipitously discovered the Galloway breed and purchased two animals from one of the few breeders in New England at the time. The breed was perfect!” Wayne found the Galloway cattle to be beautiful animals with a mellow personality, and hardy for the New Hampshire winters.
Christy and Patrick Lohof raise 65 Red Angus-based beef cattle near Otter, Montana. The Lohof beef cattle run on 3,000 acres of rolling rangeland at 3,700 feet elevation. While some grasses were seeded in the 1960s, the majority of the grassland is made up of hardy natives that thrive in the temperature and precipitation extremes of eastern Montana, and their cattle, like their pastures, are well-adapted to the landscape.