It’s hard to believe that a documentary could trigger a life change, but that is exactly what happened. After seeing Food Inc. we learned much about the industrialized food system we didn’t know and didn’t like. With the large-scale animal confinement operations that dominate the food industry today, our society has gotten so far from what is natural and normal. In other words, animals should express the essence of what it means to be that animal. Herbivores should graze pasture, chickens should scratch to uncover bugs and eat grass, and pigs should root and turn up the soil in search for food. It is these natural behaviors that we believe play a critical role in soil and animal health and ultimately in the food we eat.
After much reading and research, and visits to other sustainably run farms, we decided to be a part of the change that needs to take place in our food system. Having settled on sheep as the centerpiece of our operation, we leased some land in 2010 and bought 13 Icelandic sheep. Since that time we have been challenged with the realities of farming that no book can prepare you for, but with perseverance, our flock of sheep has grown exponentially and we’ve added heritage chickens and pigs to our operation. We have since moved to a 28-acre farm where all our heritage breed animals happily reside on pasture and where we not only raise our animals, but grow vegetables and sell our offerings at our on-site farm store.
Our two young children are on this journey with us, hence the name 8 Hands Farm. They are as much an impetus for us as was our desire to farm. What more of a real, hands on experience could we offer them as parents? As an instrumental part of our operation they are involved in it all, teaching them all about hard work and revealing life’s lessons in both success and struggle. We feel blessed to be able to do this with them.