Hi! My name is Jenn, and I've been recently been lucky enough to get married to my husband Alex at last. All this time, we've both dreamed of getting out of our one-room apartment in California-- of escaping to the country, to run our very own free-range farm. Last month, we were granted an incredible oppurtunity to live our dream! My parents decided to give us a whole 40 acres of woodland in Oregon, as a wedding present. We are so grateful to have this chance, and are fully prepared to make the most of it. However, we need your help in order to turn our dream into a reality!
Our current reality leaves a lot to be desired. My husband and I both juggle studying and part-time work; not only is it draining, but all we have to show for it is our one room, half-furnished with hand-me-downs. All we truly have to our name is a handful of kitchen utensils and containers. On one hand, moving up to Oregon shouldn't be too complicated, but on the other, we could really use some help-- this is no way to live, and the astronomical rent here is preventing us from being able to change our situation for the better ourselves.
Together, Alex and I have all the passion and capability to operate our farm! We've both longed to raise our own food since childhood; it's part of what brought us together. For me, the environment is everything! I seek ways to reduce waste in all I do, and have accumulated a vast knowledge on the science and practicalities of ecological impact reduction. In fact, by my estimates, it will be feasible to reduce waste at the farm down to almost none within the space of a year! My husband, meanwhile, cares deeply about his food. He knows that a humane meal is not only tastier, but kinder to all the animals involved. We want nothing more than to establish a home where we can work to make the world a slightly better place for humans and animals alike-- and where we can truly feel at home.
We've put together a list of all the realistic goals that we'd love to see the farm achieve, with a little help:
—Organic livestock health
For an independant farm like us, free-ranging offers a whole host of both ethical and practical benefits. The animals needn't be heavily medicated, as they are in the meat and dairy industry today. There is an alternative; simply cleaning the enclosures on a daily basis leaves the animals healthier and happier. Of course this goes beyond the enclosure-- the livestock will have acres of natural habitat in which to excercise and feed. In terms of feeding, we will additionally be supplementing the animals' diet; not with bulking commercial feed, but with organic eggs, whey, and home-grown crops. Such foods have proven nutritional benefits for farm animals, as well as coming as close as possible to a natural, balanced diet in the wild.
Our planet's resources are of the upmost importance to preserve now, for the wellbeing of both us now and the earth for centuries to come. This encompasses fundamental resources such as the water requireto live, the trees we rely on (which we will be happily surrounded by on the land in Oregon), as well as endangered species of animal and plants such as bees, who are so often overlooked in how vital they are to our society! Without too much effort, we hope to do our part to save these resources and use them to our own advantage. with stills, soil building, and native flowres and fruits.
—Ecologically sound alternatives
Many people believe that there are some harmful, everyday items that simply cannot be replaced. This is a misconception. There are so many viable alternatives which are overlooked in favour of convenience and consumerism. For example, cleaning with vinegar, doing laundry with essential oils, solar panels, a tankless water heater, even biodegradable cat litter! We've done our research, and plenty of it, to make sure that these alternative, ethical products will be available to us immediately upon arrival in Oregon, and can't wait to make the switch.
—A healthy, delicious diet
At home in California, we are restricted by space and our budget from using anything but a very small fridge in our flat. There is just enough room to refridgerate our perishable essentials, but no room for juice, for example, or meals prepared in advance that would save us the precious time that we need in order to study and work. On our farm we'll have a whole 40 acres of space-- we just need to decide which part of it we want to put our fridge on! The possibilities of home-cooked meals, pitchers of fresh juice, and even homemade cat food for our feline companion, are virtually endless.
—Reducing, reusing, recycling
Reusing jars and making use of the recycling bin is just the start! It's a little-known fact that rotten food, used water, worn clothes, lint, offal, and dung are all valuable assets in the running of a free-range farm. And on the rare occasion that we have more reusable waste than we know what to do with, we certainly know who will. Careful cooperation and consideration can go a long way towards running a virtually waste-free farm-- which we am to make ours will be after an initial year of finding our feet!
My husband and I already live out of boxes and suitcases-- we haven't got much to lose where we are in life, but we have so much to gain on our dream farm! All we ask is that you help us afford the bare essentials in order to build a future together, alone with our beloved planet.
Thank so much you for your consideration!
Jenn & Alex