In the 80s and early 90s we were SILKs (single-income, lotsa kids) living next door to DINKs (double-income, no kids) in old-town Champaign. Our normal child noise drove these neighbors crazy. We looked for and found a small, affordable place within our parameter of 20 miles from town where we could raise our family without bothering anyone. We joined 4-H and the children raised the species of their choice, giving us milk, eggs, red meat, white meat, and honey. They each were responsible for a part of the garden. We all gained valuable experience--from frightful fiascos to spectacular successes. (and, none of the children has ever lacked for employment as adults, having learned how to WORK).
Passersby would see the animals and poultry and stop, wondering if we had any for sale. We found we could raise more than we needed for ourselves, so Joy of Illinois Farm was born.
Our youngest child is now a college sophomore, and we’re adjusting to “empty-nestiness” (in the farmhouse, though not in the hen house). While raising healthy food economically was an absolute necessity during those SILKy years, now in our SINK (single income, no kids) life, it's our passion and pleasure. We have the skills, infrastructure, network, and health to continue for the foreseeable future.
“Are your products organic?” The answer is they’re not officially certified organic. Our garden produce, geese, and sheep could be considered "beyond organic." Any animal which eats any non-certified-organic grain is not. That includes turkeys, chickens, ducks, goats, and pigs. However, our animals are humanely treated, free-ranging or pasture-raised, and given neither hormones nor antibiotics.
See you at the farm!
Penny and Les Gioja
PS The people who bought our house in town turned out to be louder than we were, with half as many kids! Our former DINK neighbors moved to a high-rise in New York City...
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