About Joyful Pumpkins
My Farming Practices
My interest in farming grew out of my early career path in animal welfare and my growing concern over agriculture’s devastating environmental impacts. Once I started reading, working my way from Michel Pollen, through Frances Moore Lappé, on to Mollison, Fukuoka, and Savory, there was no turning back. I started touring and volunteering and interning, and I quickly found that this was the life for me.
After two inspiring weeks learning at Midwest Permaculture in Chicago and a farm apprenticeship in Costa Rica, I took the plunge into full time agriculture. I spent 2009 helping establish Agriburbia's urban vegetable farms, then enrolled to study sustainable agriculture at Colorado State, earning a Masters degree in Integrated Resource Management with a concentration on ecologically sound land management through grazing.
Since graduating in 2011, I've managed several ranches in Colorado, and recently uprooted my own farming operation to move to the Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana. I'm also passionate about teaching, and have been honored to share what I've learned through classes at the local college and by offering consulting for beginning farmers.
I’m so excited to be re-starting my tiny farm this year on 5 acres in Hamilton, where I'll continue to raise lambs and rabbits as I rebuild soil and plant community health. I'll have pastured rabbit available starting in summer of 2018, and lamb available starting in the fall. Thank you for your interest and for your continued support!
I am deeply committed to improving and modeling feed systems, husbandry practices, and production efficiency to give ethical sustainability a competitive edge and growing presence in agricultural and our community.
My management system is designed to offer my livestock the best possible lives, reducing stress and disease while providing daily enrichment and the chance to run, forage, root, wallow, scratch, roost, and socialize. I take personal responsibility for all livestock slaughter, humanely putting down all lambs and rabbits onsite to reduce stress. I’ve carefully selected heritage and heritage hybrid breeds that thrive on a pastured lifestyle and produce meat exceptional in quality, flavor, and nutritional value. (Find out more about slaughter practices here)
My twice weekly paddock rotations also build soil, improve plant diversity, and increase biomass production. My goal is to fully eliminate the fossil-fuel intensive, environmentally toxic, and nutrient-deficient annual grains (corn, soy, wheat, etc) that have overthrown our farming system and to instead transform recycled, local feeds such as intensively-rotated pasture, brewers grains, and restaurant waste into exceptional meat. (Find out more about feed here).
Transparency and accountability to my community is central to my farming ethics, and I encourage you to ask questions, drive by, or come for a tour to reconnect with the lives that feed your family. Sadly, healthy and ethical food has become a privilege of the wealthy. Though my prices will never compete with the factory-farmed alternative, I will strive to reduce production costs every year through efficiency and innovation to bring my products to market for the most accessible price possible. Through my future KickStarter campaign, I hope to donate a portion of my meat to local families in need.
My production system is time-consuming, intellectually challenging, and management intensive, but it is kind, it is clean, and it is a hell of a lot of fun to be a part of! Your support makes this dream possible for me and for the happy animals I raise