For the last 5 years I’ve owned and managed a tiny-scale sheep and goat dairy on an off-grid farm started from scratch in the Sierra foothills. The wildfires have gotten a little too close for comfort and I plan to move to greener more northern pastures. I’m looking to relocate my herd of ~30 goats and sheep (plus a handful of Kune Kune pigs and guard dogs) from central California to the Willamette Valley or elsewhere in western Oregon. I hope to find land to lease for a year or more, for cash or work trade, while I look for a longer term spot to put my feet down.
I'm hoping to find ~10 acres or so, with pasture, electricity, access to water, ideally a structure or two. A barn would be amazing, and housing would be a huge plus.
In 2014 a few friends and I moved onto 40 acres of oak savanna and oak woodland outside Yosemite. It's been a wild ride since, and the lessons invaluable as we've tried to negotiate questions and challenges regarding holistic animal care, community development, education, dryland pasturing and farming on marginal lands, and whether a small ag business can be truly sustainable ecologically and financially. Day to day tasks have ranged from castrating piglets to waging war on foxtail, to light construction, plumbing, irrigation, running electrics, butchering livestock, sales and marketing, sourcing feed, gardening and orcharding. I'm grateful for everything I've learned and don't take any of it for granted.
My primary focus has been the dairy. Every day with the help of dedicated friends and wwoofers, I milk between 10-20 sheep and goat ladies and move their electric fence to a new spot on pasture, managing for the health of the herd and the soil. I do almost all of my own veterinary work. A few days a week I make cheese: feta is my most consistently tasty, but I'm excited about how my halloumi, chevre, cheddars and blues have turned out. I am passionate about rotational grazing on an appropriate scale, being a steward to the land, sharing food with community, and this game-changing milk (maybe it's so tasty because even the sheep know their names? These ladies are spoiled).
Before helping to start my farm, I spent 2 summers on a fossil fuel free seed farm/intentional community in Virginia. I love growing and processing seeds and hope to add a small seed operation to my next project.
I hope to continue selling milk, cheese and yogurt from my herd, on a tiny scale, within my nearby community. I hope to garden either on my land or nearby, possibly trading labor with a local farm. Educating and connecting people to real food is important to me, as is working cooperatively with other small farmers in the area.
I have a wonderful, fun cohort of seasonal-working friends that want to put their energy towards something meaningful. I'd love to find land that can be developed by a small group of us into a micro-dairy farm, with an orchard, garden, shared kitchen and common spaces, and individual living spaces. On some farther-flung timeline, the dream extends to building out an artist retreat or a hospice. I'd love to partner with an organization that works with victims of domestic violence. First things first though, and one step at a time.
My current off-grid farm has an outdoor kitchen and small rustic cabins, so access to a conventional house would be living large and would make the transition north easier. I'm open to investing in a yurt or trailer or some other structure that I could relocate once I find my longer-term spot. (If this spot ends up being longer-term, that's great too.)
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