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Sustainable Farm

We raise pastured lamb and rabbit on a small farm in Western Montana. Learn more about our animals and about ordering meat on our Lamb or Rabbit pages! 

MISSION STATEMENT

I am deeply committed to improving feed systems, husbandry practices, and production efficiency to give ethical sustainability a competitive edge and growing presence in agricultural and our community.

Pastured, grass-fed, holistically managed livestock create the best soil and the finest meals! My lambs and rabbits enjoy room to roam and diverse natural diets on my riverside Montana farm.

My management system is designed to offer my livestock as much freedom as possible while benefiting the soil and rebuilding resilient plant communities. Weekly pasture rotations are regularly adjusted as I monitor weeds, soil coverage, and biomass production to find a good balance of animal nutrition and plant regrowth.

 

Before I purchased my property in 2017, the land was left mostly fallow for the past two decades, with occasional unmanaged use by horses. Thanks to good water access, I inherited a fairly healthy stand of perennial grasses despite that mistreatment, but also have low production throughout and some well established weed communities. My primary goal with monitoring and rotational grazing is to greatly increase biomass production by diversifying plant species and correcting soil problems (compaction, low organic matter, too much and too little water). In future years, I hope to produce year round livestock feed, reducing inputs of fossil-fuel intensive grain and hay while sustaining a healthy flock of lambs and colony of rabbits.  

Replacing stressful, impersonal slaughter practices has always been an big part of why I raise livestock.  I take personal responsibility for livestock slaughter whenever possible, carefully harvesting sheep 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. 

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.  

My interest in farming initially grew out of my early career path in animal welfare and a deep concern for 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 visiting and volunteering and interning, and I quickly found that there was no way to live but with my hands in the soil and my heart a steward for the lives of animals and land.  

After spending an inspiring  two weeks at Midwest Permaculture in Chicago getting a PDC and PTC, I left my job at Boulder Humane Society to start work on a newly established organic vegetable farm. Hoping to find permaculture in action there, I instead found 40 hour weeks of futile weeding, and quickly realized I wanted to have a bigger impact on the Earth than leaving it with a little less bindweed and a few more tomatoes.

I studied sustainable ranching at Colorado State, getting a Masters degree in Integrated Resource Management with a concentration on ecologically sound land management through grazing. I got lucky enough to find an opportunity doing just that in Colorado’s gorgeous Roaring Fork Valley, and worked for four years there as a perennial pasture farmer. I had the opportunity to explore several different styles of ranching as well as work with many types of livestock. After raising beef and dairy cattle, hogs, small ruminants, rabbits, and way too many poultry for the past 6 years, I settled on hair sheep and meat rabbits as a great fit for my land as well as my health limitations. 

I absolutely love giving these animals good lives and am passionate about making the land healthier every year.

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Contact Amy at: 406-544-7074, joyfulpumpkins@gmail.com
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