When I was living in Turkey, my friend Jake told me that I needed to read a book titled, Nourishing Traditions. He thought I would enjoy it considering my interest in food and health, and he was right! The book is kind of a mix of a cook book, a health book, and food history book. I have used it and referenced it many times.
The author of the book is Sally Fallon Morell who went on to establish the Westin A. Price Foundation, which I highly recommend to my patients. In addition to being an author and health activist, she also loves to make cheese from raw milk. When Sally had the opportunity a few years ago, she and her husband purchased a farm that dates back to 1665 (from a modern history perspective).
I had a chance to meet Mike and Barb Haigwood when I was at the Permaculture Voices Conference. At the time, just over a month ago, they were the farm managers at the P.A. Bowen Farmstead. They said that I should come and visit some time, and, as it turned out, I was going to be in the D.C. area about 2 weeks after the conference. I decided to take them up on their offer, and I am so glad I did!
What I found was a Joel Salatin/Permaculture style farm that had a lot of class. Now… how do I explain this without offending anyone? I am not sure if I can, so I will just say it. Permaculturists can be slobs. They may call it being frugal or being artsy or being whimsical or being natural, but the end results can often look like a junkyard. There is a part of me that really understands and identifies with that. I really like to be frugal, although I don’t like being cheap. I also understand working at or below a budget, and I am not above foregoing class for functionality… you should see the $800 car I currently drive! At the other end of the spectrum is spending too much time and money on making a place look good, making it look classy; a farm like that can turn into a money pit and will go out of business fast. To me, there can be a good balance between the two extremes. Joel Salatin’s farm falls to frugal side, and the P.A. Bowen Farmstead falls to the classy side. I don’t have a clue about the bottom line or budget of either of these places, so this subjective assessment is based soley on outside observation.
With that said, the P.A. Bowen Farmstead is certainly pretty to look at. If every farm in America looked like this, the cities would be half empty due to everyone moving to the countryside!
I’ll finish this article by adding that Mike and Barb Haigwood are no longer the farm managers at the P.A. Bowen Farmstead. They left on very good terms to start their own consulting practice, Real Life Consulting, “using their many years of farming, homesteading and permaculture experience. Barb and Mike Haigwood consult with anyone who would like to make a difference in the world.”
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Photo References: All photos in this article are mine. If you would like to use them, please let me know!