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, 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.
This fall the youngest child left for college and we became empty nesters. While raising healthy food economically was an absolute necessity during those SILKy years, now it's a passion and pleasure. We have the skills, infrastructure, network, and health to continue for the foreseeable future.
The farm is not certified organic for anything we raise. The garden produce and sheep could be considered "almost organic." Any animal which eats any grain--which is grown and mixed for us locally--is not. That includes chickens, ducks in the winter, goats, and pigs. At this time, purchase of certified organic feed is not a workable option. Instead, we can say our animals are "pasture-raised", "raised under God's sky", "no hormones or antibiotics". Getting an animal welfare certification is a logical next step, but first we need to accomplish building this website!
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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