Everything happens when it’s supposed to and as I embrace that reality, the smoother things tend to flow.
I had been studying the works of Joel Salatin and Greg Judy regarding regenerative pasture management for over a decade and I’ve wanted ruminants on this land since we started getting our spot set up in October of 2020. But a variety of factors kept me from taking that step – the biggest one being that I really needed to observe the land: the plants, trees, the wildlife and the movement of the weather, especially the water and the soil condition. As well, I needed to get a couple of areas cleared enough and maintained so that I could run solar electric fencing.
I also wanted to have my job schedule arranged so that I could be on the land as much as possible once the animals were here.
And while I don’t mind jumping into new things with only some basic knowledge, I feel a lot better if I have a way to share risks and have my hand held just a bit early on.
All of this came together earlier this summer when I began a conversation with Marcie Yadon. Marcie is a farmer in North Knox County who runs the KnoxFarms2Families meat-based CSA. If my memory serves, Marcie launched the CSA during early 2020 when demand for access to quality, local meat rose and wasn’t being adequately met. They built partnerships with various local producers, added dozens of freezers to the property and began distributing meat.
In addition, Marcie and her husband Jeff worked out a system where they place some of their animals (Katahdin sheep in my case) onto fallow land. The landowners are responsible for daily chores and the Yadons supply the animals, portable electric fencing, feed, (when needed) minerals and informational support. Over the seasons, the herd is split evenly between the Yadons and the landowner.
So yesterday Marcie and Jeff arrived with 8 ewes and a ram who were happily turned out onto about a 1/2 acre of pasture that we had fenced the day before. We chose this spot first as it’s the nearest spot to the cabin and I can quickly check on things as the animals acclimate. I’ll observe how quickly the area is getting grazed and be prepared to set up the next paddock to transfer them. In my case, I think I’ll actually just walk them right through what serves as our backyard and work them towards the 2 to 3 acres of land below the cabin.
With ruminants here now, things feel more complete, though I know it’ll take time to get these soils back into a healthier condition. The process is underway and I’m good with that.
If you’re in the Knox County area, here’s the link to the meat CSA: (2) Facebook. If you don’t use Facebook, email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you a link to the email list.
I’m looking forward to this learning process and being part of the solution to creating more local food while improving the soil for future generations.
There’s a very good chance that there are food producers in your area who are interested in similar partnerships. Get out there and build those relationships. Stop at farm stands, go out to farmer’s markets and keep an eye on community conversation in local social media. If there’s anything I can do to help facilitate that process, please reach out to me. Happy Summer everyone!