Along with Healing Vibes in the Garden, Greenhouse and Grand Ridge Community
Growing gardens offers more than natural beauty and vitality. What began as essential survival skills to manage a wake up call to preventative health slowly but assuredly proved integral for navigating life, death, everything in between and all that is beyond. Grateful Plains is our 6-acre farm just outside the village of Grand Ridge, Illinois where rural heritage unites pioneering husband (pilot life) and ambitious bride (farmer wife) as we revive the farmland our parents bought sight unseen to relocate from Big Sky Country in 1979.
A Glimpse at life on the farm. . .
Specialty Crop farming
In 2012, Holly answered a communal cry to provide fresh, organically grown produce when a local food cooperative suddenly closed its doors. The story is full of grit and goodness and worth talking one of us into a break to tell it!
Fast forward version: Grow food, eat healthy, share passion for eating healthy, grow membership, Learn CSA model of farming, educate consumers, build farm membership, grow food, compost food nobody knows is begin grown because I am so busy farming. Farm, harvest, weed, irrigate, plant. Repeat. Meet and meet and meet some more with local ag agencies to become a recognized specialty grower. Grow. Train volunteers. Struggle to find community interested in eating fresh produce. Get denied funding since I'm not a 'real farm'. Hire out to convert local restaurant's land to a garden market farm. Earn a paycheck to get qualified to buy farm. Teach beginning farmers the skills of specialty cropping. Learn the hops and barely commodity cycle. Build a greenhouse. Grow 7 acres of carrots, beets, tomatoes, peas, basil, pumpkins, sweet corn and gourds. Struggle with chefs. Sell very little to chefs. Wrestle with CFOs and non-farmer bookkeepers. Grow hops. Drink lots of hoppy beer. Train more farmers to be amazing farmers. Educate youth interested in agriculture. Build, market and grow someone else's farm. Sell very little hops to local brewery. Fall in love with passionate farmer boss. Marry him. Sign mortgage to purchase family farm just as mom goes into nursing home. Bade farewell to mom, then to corporate farming, to my devoted crew, to the discord between the almighty dollar and power struggle among executive staff. Grieve, process loss, send kids off to college, and fall madly in love with a 30 year seasoned farmer who shares enthusiasm for building our own farm. A flower farm, this time. A forever farm blooming in the love, grace and fortitude it took to arrive. And so begins our happily ever after. . .