After the New Year, farmers Dirk and Lydia will be moving from Waco, Texas to Albany, Oregon to run Goose’s Green, a fourth-generation family farm. They have a very inspiring story to share.
Plus, in addition to farming, Dirk also enjoys drawing. He blends his love of farming with his artistic talent to create amazingly unique illustrations. We’ll show you a couple of his favorite farm-inspired drawings later on in this post. First, we begin with the story of Goose’s Green.
Dirk, where is Goose’s Green farm located?
What is the story behind your farm? When did life as farmers begin for both of you?
Though my wife Lydia and I both come out of long agricultural traditions, many of those traditions skipped our parents’ generation–we are interested in preserving and healing those traditions with sustainable practices. We see stewardship of the land, and of these traditions, as our primary goal and responsibility.
We didn’t always imagine ourselves becoming farmers, but our lives and interests have been pushing us in that direction for longer than we’ve been aware of it. We first met while studying abroad in Senegal, where I worked on a millet farm, and Lydia in a creamery that processed and distributed milk for local farmers. We definitely didn’t consider ourselves farmers then, but our interest in food continued to grow. When we returned home, we began making cheese and delving into a lot of the gardening and food preservation lore that our parents and grandparents grew up with.
Still, we found ourselves lacking some of the foundational skills that we needed to begin farming, so we applied for agricultural internships at the World Hunger Relief farm in Waco, TX.
We’ve spent the past year managing a CSA and small raw milk goat dairy as part of our internships, and can say that we’ve truly become farmers during this year. We are currently in the planning phase of our first year farming solo, and will be taking our new skills back to Oregon with us in February. Thus Goose’s Green was born.
What will you grow and/or raise in 2013?
During our first year, we will be focusing on fresh produce, which we’ll be marketing both as CSA shares, and at local farmers’ markets. Our long term dream is to build up a small herd of dairy animals, make and market our own farmstead cheeses. We’ve been honing our skills as home cheesemakers over the past several years, and love being able to use milk from our own animals.
In addition to what we’ll be selling, we will be giving a lot of our attention to the development of our pastures, as well as planting woody fruits and hardwoods for the future. Most of the land we are farming has been in production as grass seed for years, and will take some time to conform to our vision.
What influenced you to become farmers?
The desire to work for ourselves, and to share that work with family and friends. An interest in good food and a desire to serve the land.
Why do you love most about being a farmer (i.e., growing food, raising farm animals, or keeping bees)?
I love farming as a medium for design—a medium where the fruits of planning unfold over
years or decade, like the massive oak trees that line the drives of old plantation houses. To be able to participate in that long, zoomed-out scale of time is something I find appealing. I also really value participating in the traditions that our families have nurtured for hundreds of years.
What products will you offer in 2013?
We will be selling fresh-market produce for the 2013 season. We will be at farmers’ markets in Albany and Corvallis, and have CSA shares available for weekly pick-up. We will be slowly expanding into woody fruits over the next several years, and hope to be selling our cheese at some point as well.
What do you enjoy most about offering these products?
Growing and selling things at market is sort of a curatorial service. It’s fun to find interesting vegetables or varieties and share them.
We encourage others to embrace time-honored traditions, old-fashioned skills and also celebrate the modern arts and contemporary craft movement. What arts, crafts, skills and traditions do you enjoy practicing or teaching?
We do a lot of home canning and preservation, and love making cheese and soap. We also try to DIY whatever we’re able to, more out of thrift than anything else.
I studied mixed-media sculpture and architecture in school, but have found that drawing is the medium that I most enjoy, and is kind of my native language for expression. I draw mostly for myself, but have done some small commission work, and am still looking for ways to sell my work and improve my craft. Lately I’ve found a lot of inspiration in farm settings, especially in farm animals, and the relationship between humans and other animals. Lydia’s B.A. is in piano pedagogy–she has taught lessons in the past, and will be looking for new students when we move back to Oregon.
Farm-Inspired Illustrations by Dirk Leichty
Does Goose’s Green have a website or blog?
Our blog and home page: http://goosesgreen.com
Thank you Dirk and Lydia for taking time to share your inspiring story and incredible illustrations with the community of farmers and friends. We support your efforts to farm and wish you Happy farming!