Melinda Brown raises Certified AWA pigs on 10 acres in Vilas, North Carolina—a town just outside of Boone, located in the high country. “Nothing is flat here. It’s all rather steep, which makes fencing a bit challenging,” says Melinda. “The property was not used for about 10 years, so for the last five I’ve been working on reclaiming the pastures and getting my infrastructure built.” For years she has produced most of her own food, and she enjoys preserving and canning the bounty of her harvests. “I enjoy helping other people learn how to can,” says Melinda.
Ted and Trish Weisenbach have been around beef cattle and farming for their entire lives. They bought their current farm, Weisenbach Beef, in 2003, when the farm consisted of severely overgrown pastures and one perimeter fence. Since then, Ted and Trish have divided the 47-acre plot into seven pastures, all with access to fresh water, frost-proof fountains and shade. Ted and Trish, along with their two sons Noah and EJ, raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle in Danville, Arkansas.
Donna Simons raises Certified AWA laying hens and laying ducks at Pound Ridge Organics in Westchester County, New York. Pound Ridge Organics sits on an original homestead property dating back to 1792. The ducks and chickens roam the 2-acre property, while 16 acres of wooded wetlands lies just beyond the farm.
Noel Diesen and Cliff Rankin raise Certified AWA pigs, laying hens, laying ducks and geese outdoors on pasture or range at Rock Spring Hollow Farm in Cumberland City, Tennessee. Both Noel and Cliff grew up without a farming background in Nebraska and Ohio, respectively. However, just a few years ago, after deciding that they wanted to find a place to farm and grow their own food, they found a property online, called the listing agent and saw the farm. Within 45 days, they were farm owners of Rock Spring Hollow Farm! As Noel explained, “The universe said this is what we’re gonna do.”
Farming on 18 acres that grew cotton for centuries, Carey & Natalie Howell manage their land with the aim of revitalizing the soil at Howell Specialty Farmz in Indian Land, South Carolina: “We are actively looking to turn our mistreated land into a viable farm with the goal of creating a more sustainable farming system,” Natalie says. Just three years ago, the Howells started raising chickens. When a local specialty grocer requested their eggs in addition to friends, family and neighbors, they decided to ramp up production. Today, Howell Specialty Farmz raises 80 Certified AWA laying hens outdoors on pasture, supplying fresh eggs to the local community.
Felicity Wilson and Gordon Sweetnam began operating Kelowna Free Graze Lamb in 2014. Kelowna is a happy medium between Edmonton, Alberta, where Gordon grew up, and Felicity’s childhood home on Vancouver Island. As a meat sheep operation with an on-site slaughter plant, Kelowna Free Graze Lamb also combined their talents and interests: Gordon, who has an extensive livestock management background and most recently came from a Certified AWA cattle operation in Alberta, would focus on animal husbandry; while Felicity took responsibility for the farm’s slaughter plant and vegetable production.
Jeromy Biazzo and Margaret Meixner raise Certified AWA sheep at Wolftree Farm in Schuyler County, New York. Wolftree Farm sits in the heart of the state’s Finger Lakes Region on the slopes between the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Finger Lakes National Forest.
Martez Alston raises Certified AWA pigs at Triple A Ranch and Farm in Warrenton, North Carolina—about 50 miles north of the Raleigh-Durham area. Martez grew up on a family farm and has continued to keep the 54-acre farm up and running. In addition to his Certified AWA pigs, Martez also manages some cattle and cuts hay.
Phillip and Dena Parham raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle and Certified AWA Large Black Hogs outdoors on pasture at Parham Pharm in Swink, Oklahoma.