Wow! I was working ahead and started drafting this blog LAST week to be able to post on Sunday. I wasn’t even waiting till the last minute! (My mom would be so proud.) But as I began to write, I kept going down rabbit holes I didn’t want to go down. As I continued to write, edit, delete, and write again, I have settled on the following. There are many topics to elaborate on that will come from this blog over time, but my hope and intention is just to give an overview of where and why it all started. This has turned out to be like a second introductory/welcome blog. Simply put, it’s all about food or at least that’s why it started. Feel free to ask any questions you may have – maybe they’ll inspire a future post. But with all of that said, ENJOY!
Where did it all begin? Well, I’m not sure when Brandon originally started dreaming of having a farm, but at least from the time we started dating he shared with me that his dream job would be to farm full-time. But if that never happened, he at least wanted to raise enough meat to feed his family. Admirable, I guess. I was always open with him that the dream of farming as a full-time profession was scary to me (so much is out of your control – predators, mother nature, unknown demand trends, etc.). And then, in regards to providing for his family, I thought that was cool, but I guess I didn’t care one way or the other.
Well, Brandon began doing more and more research about farming when he stumbled across Joel Salatin and Polyface Farms (http://www.polyfacefarms.com/). This was when, in many ways, it all changed…for BOTH of us! Now don’t get excited, I was still super reluctant, as the title of this blog implies, but I was unexpectedly becoming interested in learning more about farming. Salatin may have been the first Brandon began to read and follow but he was like a gateway drug into the addiction of sustainable farming. From there came others like Greg Judy, Alan Nation, and Allan Savory just to name a few. They all have similar mindsets about farming – doing it in a way that cares for both the land AND the animal. There is an emphasis on going back to the basics, trying to mimic how an animal would act in nature, and better management of the land you’re grazing. It is farming in a sustainable and ethical way. The practices this community follows turns much of the industrialized farming world on its head and for good reason.
Brandon had always shared his love of farming as a vocation, something God was calling him to, but it seemed something was missing in how he articulated this call. These concepts and actionable steps toward farming in a sustainable way helped add the framework and words he’d been searching for. This type of farming, mimicking an animal’s natural instinct and stewarding the land you’ve been entrusted with, honored God, creator of all, and brought everything full circle. I may not have been super into farming, but I can easily get behind faith and passion and this was where Brandon and his dream of farming was headed.
So, in 2012 Bowers Farm raised its first batch of broilers (meat chickens). They were raised on pasture in field shelters that were moved everyday onto fresh grass. We kept some for ourselves and gave some away so people could try them and taste the difference. As the saying goes, the rest is sort of history. From there the farm has grown into a small herd of cows, a flock of sheep, laying hens, litters of pigs and occasionally some turkeys, rabbits, and ducks. Way more than a “hobby farm,” as many people mistakenly call our farm. All our animals are raised in an ethical and respectful way that allows them to live their best life and have just “one bad day,” as Meredith Leigh says (http://www.mereleighfood.com/). We farm in a way that cares for all of God’s creation – land, animal, and human.
Over the years, as we have learned more about the commercial food industry, the more committed we have become to always providing meat for our family! (And, for as long as there is an interest, raising and providing meat for others.) What started with a batch of 50 chickens and wanting to eat a better and healthier meat has impacted many other aspects of my life as well. I am more conscious of locally sourcing fruit and vegetables when possible and I have researched and educated myself more on how to better read food labels. This natural more conscience lifestyle has also impacted the cleaning supplies we buy and even our parenting styles. These are not all directly connected but one thing has led to another. None of our transitions were overnight, they have been slow gradual steps, kind of like committing to buying coffee local (see recent Instagram post from May 14th). One of my hopes for this blog is to be able to share what I have learned with those who are interested. I’m excited you’re along for the ride as I share what I’ve learned and maybe it can help you and your family too.
Disclaimer: We aren’t perfect. (Hopefully that didn’t need to be stated, haha!) We try our best but we don’t eat only local produce and only our meat (though that was a New Years resolution a couple years ago that was awesome and something I’ll share later). I love a Chick-Fil-A sandwich as much as the next person and I have no idea where they buy their chicken from (I’m also fairly certain I don’t want to know). When we visit friends and family, we eat the meat that is served. Brandon and I both have a soft spot for Oreo’s and milk too. Also, I sometimes forget my reusable grocery bags when I go into Publix and we use paper towels like they’re going out of style. But it’s all about learning more so we can all do better, and with all our baby steps, I think we can make a difference in our environment and in our health.
#ReluctantFarmer #SCFarmLife #Chicken #KnowWhereYourFoodComesFrom #FarmersWife #FarmLIfe #EthicalFarming #EatLocal #EatSustainably #SustainableFarming #BowersFarm #PastureRaisedChicken #WhereItAllBegan