Our names are Will and Jessie Holland. We met at Ohio University while pursuing our undergraduate degrees in 2004. Jessie’s grandfather who loved everything polka, Joseph Truchan, passed away in 2010 and the family farm that was deeded to Martin and Barbara Fedders in 1927, was slated to be divided and sold off to make a housing development. Luckily we were able to buy the farm in 2012 along with the extensive polka collection and eventually move here at the end of 2016. At first, we had no idea what we were going to do with the farm, we just knew we had to do something so while living and working in the big city of Washington D.C., we devoured many books on all types of farming, market gardening, learned about permaculture and regeneration and we also watched lots of YouTube farming videos. We tried our hand at growing things on a small scale in the city and we would come visit and make improvements to the farm while we worked out a plan to make our dream a reality.
Permaculture is the guiding set of principles practiced on our farm and is best explained with this quote from its founder, Bill Mollison, “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” With the industrialization of food in the world, diabetes and obesity have increased, highly processed foods with little to no nutritive value fill the grocery store shelves, food-borne illness outbreaks from bad farming practices fill the headlines, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) dominate, inhumane handling practices persist, herbicide resistant weeds thrive, and many processes related to such a vital part of a healthy life seem to be challenged by the way our food system has evolved.
Luckily small, family-owned integrated farms like this one all over the country are making a comeback and challenging the industrial food complex. Our farm consists of a vegetable market garden, a small orchard and flower garden, a diverse grassland pasture, and forest areas that all support our different types of livestock. We strive to continuously improve our farming methods, the quality of our products, and the positive impacts we have on the community and the environment. Food production should be a priority of every community for the food safety, food security, and good nutrition it provides. No longer do we have to import food from many miles away with all the baggage it carries. One advantage to supporting your local farmer, especially one who uses sustainable or regenerative practices, is the cost certainty that comes from our resiliency. We’re not buying many inputs from off the farm that rely on cheap fuel, cheap grain, high yields from good weather, or government subsidies to be profitable. Therefore, we can keep our prices steady even during drought, fuel price increases, tax hikes, etc. When all those inputs actually are cheap, we are probably more expensive than the grocery store across the board, but our quality will always be better and the price is not subject to external factors.
We are so proud of what the farm has become and we are excited to see where it can take us in the future. We recently got two new farm hands to join us on this crazy venture and we are optimistic that the things we are doing here today will make this land viable and strong for their grandchildren to enjoy as well. We truly appreciate your support and interest in what we are doing and are willing to answer any questions you have. Stop out or call us anytime to set up a visit and thank you for supporting your local farmers!