Twelve years, and three kids ago, we lived in the urban core of downtown Jacksonville. As our family grew we longed for more space, which led us to the suburbs, but even living in the suburbs seemed too crowded for our liking. One day while helping our then 5 year old complete his homework, the exercise was to connect one item that belonged to another, a simple matching worksheet, right? There was a picture of an egg, so we asked "Where do eggs come from?", and rather than pointing to the chicken on the opposite side of the page, he plainly said, "Publix". While he wasn't wrong, our hearts sank.
This exercise let to further questioning of all of our children about their food, where it comes from, much to our surprise, their answers were far off base. An epiphany occured over the next few days, as we realized how disconnected we all were from our food. We had no idea where it really lived, how it had been raised, and why we had treated it like some inanimate object up until that point. The lightbulbs went off in our heads, we now understood why we had never felt truly "home" in any of our homes - we subconsciously had been longing for a different life.
This started off a weekend ritual of traveling around the rural areas of Florida. For two years we looked at many pieces of land. While we looked we began reading every bit of information we could find on farming, raising animals, and how to provide for ourselves. It was during this time we discovered Joel Salatin and pasture-based farming. It became more exciting by the day as we imagined creative ways to raise food simply by allowing nature to do what it does best and embrace its many perfect systems.
It was finally in 2007 that we found the land we now live on and began a new chapter in our lives. Like many wanna-be farmers, we tried many ideas and failed, but we also found success with persistence. As we began to provide for our own family we began providing for others. In a very organic fashion, our farm has slowly grown over the years to what it is now. Our lives are richer than we couldn've ever dreamed of, and to live a completely fulfilled life surrounded by people you love is the visceral meaning of life.