Los Vallecitos Grass Fed Meats sits at almost 9,000 feet elevation, with beautiful views of the Mora Valley. The farm is comprised of 600 acres, 300 of which have belonged to Richard Fresquez’s family since the time of Spanish land grants that were established in New Mexico during the 17th Century. Today, he and his partner, Carla Gomez, who purchased an adjoining 300-acre property, raise Certified AWA meat sheep, meat goats, beef cattle, and laying hens on the land where his ancestors raised food long before them.
Scott and Madyson Millard raise Certified AWA laying hens on pasture at Southpaw Farm in Lincolnton, North Carolina. Because the laying hens at Southpaw Farm are managed in pasture-based systems, they have constant access to pasture or range, they have plenty of room to perform natural behaviors like running, foraging, pecking, dust bathing, and scratching for grubs and seeds under the North Carolina sunshine. Not only is pasture management far better for animal welfare but it is also less likely to cause environmental degradation. It also results in tasty and nutritious eggs with more beta carotene and higher levels of beneficial conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids than conventional eggs!
Christine Kubacz grew up gardening with her mom and eating home cooked food made with whole, fresh ingredients. As an adult, Christine tried a few different professions, but kept finding herself drawn back to her roots, and so she began making her own path and career as a farmer. Today, Christine and husband, John, raise Certified AWA laying hens at Foggy Brook Farm in Fairfield, Vermont.
Bart Kepley’s great grandfathers were both tobacco farmers in North Carolina. But while there was a family history of farming in past generations, Bart grew up in Florida without farming experience. Soon after he and his wife, Kristyl, had their first child, however, they started to take a closer look at the food their family ate. This was the start of their journey back to farming.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 17, 2014
Jocelyn Biggs is the third generation of her family to live and work on the land in southeastern Alberta where her grandfather began farming in 1956. As the oldest of four girls who were homeschooled on the family ranch, Jocelyn took on many farm business responsibilities in her teenage years, and still works and lives on TK Ranch, her family’s 10,000-acre ranch, where she is responsible for managing inventory, customer relations, and weekly deliveries.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 11, 2014
Karin Carswell Guest’s great great uncle, Albert Wilcox, began managing 2,500-acre Princeville Ranch on the north shore of Kauai in 1895. Although the property changed hands several times after that, Karin’s family returned in 1978 when her parents, Donn and Gale Carswell, got permission from the ranch’s owners to lead visitors through the property on horseback riding adventures to destinations on the ranch.
Arianna and Eric Gaesswitz raise Certified AWA pigs and laying hens on pasture at West Mountain Farm in Winslow, Arkansas. West Mountain Farm utilizes pasture-based farming systems to ensure their animals have constant access to pasture or range throughout their lives. The herd of pigs and flock of laying hens have room to roam and demonstrate their instinctual behaviors. Research shows this type of management results in better animal health, environmental health, and human health—as well as tastier eggs and meat!
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 10, 2014
Shannon Eaton discovered her love for raising sheep as a farm apprentice in Royalton, Vermont, back in 2009. After moving to Jay, New York, Shannon introduced herself to Rhonda Butler at Asgaard Farm, a Certified AWA goat dairy, and over the course of four years, worked her way up to goatherd manager. She learned a lot about best management practices for raising happy and healthy ruminants,
Today, Shannon raises her own flock of sheep at Blue Pepper Farm in Jay, NY, with her husband, Tyler, an environmental science teacher at Northwood School in Lake Placid, and their two young sons, Wyatt and Shepherd. Tyler and Shannon bought their 46-acre farm in 2011. Their property lies on the edge of the Adirondack high peaks, where farmland meets the mountains. The small flock of Katahdin breeding ewes is frequently moved to new grass growth throughout the season, ensuring they have access to the most nutritious pasture and avoiding overgrazing, preventing the build-up of potential diseases and internal parasites, and maximizing the animals’ natural health and immunity. “We are extremely careful about how long the pasture rests before being grazed again to ensure that our sheep and our pastures stay healthy,” Shannon explains. “We also never feed grain to our sheep, which is a benefit to pasture-based management. Everything we need grows right in our fields, and then the animals help to put those nutrients right back into the fields.”
Laini Fondiller, owner of Lazy Lady Farm in Westfield, Vermont, is anything but lazy. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Laini has been farming since she was 22 years old. After meeting a farmer in Indiana, she left her last year of college and changed her course to pursue farming as her career. “It was like an epiphany,” Laini says. “It changed my life and I knew I couldn’t do anything else after that.”
Chris Loeffler is having a very active retirement: After 26 years as a public school teacher in California and New Mexico, she started a second career as a farmer in the spring of 2014. The 56-acre plot that she and her husband own in Grants, New Mexico, is too dry for crops and too small for many cattle, so she decided to raise chickens.