Food is not always something that you put in your mouth and eat!

I’ve been overwhelmed this week with many heart felt comments and well wishes for the farm and my work. I have to admit that I’m stunned! All joking aside….. I sat here at my computer in amazement. I had no idea that so many people cared or recognized how horribly messed up our food production system is.

Food INC gave a glimpse into the food system that dominates our country and for my part I can say that I’m only one of thousands of farmers. Many of you have commented on the difference in my appearance or looks from Food INC to now. One commenter described me as looking haggard during my Food INC time and I have to agree. It’s a look and mental condition that I recognize well in the faces of my farmer friends who are stuck in the industrial system.

Taking that a step further…. I know so many who are stuck with no way out. They’ve been beaten down to the point of exhaustion. Many have lost the will to fight a power that is so great that there is no place that can’t be reached through wealth and influence. Facing complete financial ruin for one’s self and family is a powerful tool to ensure silence and compliance. I view myself as being blessed and lucky to have gotten out from under the thumb of corporate agriculture however I haven’t forgotten the many who haven’t. It will take a tidal wave of voices to free farmers from the restraints that bind them.

You are the people who will force change through spending hard earned food dollars in different ways and by electing officials who can’t be reached through wealth and influence. Other than the status quo!……….

The changes here on the farm have been dramatic and in my neck of the woods, the Delmarva Peninsula, our way of raising chickens is almost unheard of. A funny incident that happened a couple of months ago brings this point home – A man and woman were riding bicycles past the farm and I was out with the chickens. I could hear the woman shouting to the man “oh my God those chickens are out of the chicken house, they’re loose” and kept pointing and shouting! I had to holler back to assure her it was okay “they are free range chickens”.

Implementing a whole new way of farming and having the freedom to make all the decisions about how things are done is a refreshing and rewarding experience. Wanting to get out of bed and face the day on the farm is no longer a dreaded thing.

Having said that, I won’t gloss things over and say it’s easy. Along with the refreshing and rewarding – it’s hard work. I’m no longer just a farmer! I’ve learned about selling product; designing packaging and labeling; collecting, washing, and packing eggs according to food safety regulations (and learning the regulations); and coordinating deliveries and being the delivery driver…… the list goes on! These are things that independent farmers have to do.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have had excellent tech assistance through the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) program. Having been audited and certified by a third party, AWA, other than knowing that we are raising our girls in the best welfare practices we can, benefits have been assistance in all of the things I mentioned above. Without AWA? I wouldn’t have known where to begin.

For those of you who’ve asked about where our eggs can be purchased. Bird’s Eye View Farm eggs are available at Whole Foods stores in Annapolis, MD , Harbor East and Mount Washington in Baltimore, MD. They are also available at Cowgirl Creamery in Washington DC, Arrowine, Westover Market, and European Foods in Arlington, VA. We don’t sell meat chickens.

Having so many wonderful people, most complete strangers to me, joining me in my great adventure is the best. Somehow, saying “thank you” to all of the kind words, thoughts, support, and wishes, seems lacking. But it’s all that I have….. Thank you!

Comments on: "Many Thanks and Some Thoughts" (22)

  1. You’re a true hero and a national treasure. To read your account of transitioning – and NOT giving up! – is very inspiring. We’re AWA & AGA certified grassfed beef producers in Southern OK, and we salute you for taking a stand, acting on your convictions and being brave enough to let the whole world watch. May you inspire many more to join you!

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  2. your story of transformation is beautiful. congratulations to you for following your gut and finding a new sustainable path. i have been haunted by the images in Food Inc since watching the film and after watching the video of you recently shot on your farm on Fix Food, my heart was warmed. thank YOU for sharing your story.

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  3. Craig Watts said:

    Carole..are you insinuating I look haggard???…just kidding..you a rock and roller..

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  4. Yes we can change the world, one chicken at a time. You are a true human being. As much as possible, I don’t buy big box anymore. Farmers Markets and co ops. You are my hero.

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  5. Well done!! *Love* what you’ve done with the place and with “the girls.” Hope your business continues to grow. Any chance that you’ll expand into the Western MD market any time soon?? 😉

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  6. Food, Inc. changed the way I eat. I was moved by the courage you showed in speaking out and allowing the cameras to show the cruelty and suffering involved in industrial chicken farming. I just learned today of your new approach via “Grist,” and I say, “You go, girl!” Thank you for your willingness to buck the system and try something better for all of us–the chickens and the people. You and Food, Inc. were a big part of my decision to raise my own small flock of chickens so that I could be confident that my eggs came from happy, healthy hens. My girls send happy clucks to your girls!

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  7. Anonymous said:

    Thank you for freeing yourself from them for us…

    Like

  8. T Reilly said:

    A big thank you to you and your husband. The world needs to change, thank you for helping to lead the way and telling your story. Watching the video on the transformation of you and your farm this morning made tears well up in my eyes. I wish you all much success!!!!!

    Like

  9. Carole, Kudos to you! Quick question–you said you do not sell meat birds. What do you do with the birds once their productive laying days end? Thanks!

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    • Our Girl’s are only 1 year old. We won’t be thinking about slaughter for at least another year. Of course, it’s something we will have to figure out as everything else in our new adventure!

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  10. Karen said:

    Dear Carol,
    Please add me to the list of the many people who want to congratulate you on your courage and your ethics. I do remember you from Food, Inc. and I just saw you in O magazine. I got up to the computer to find you online to say thank you for your contribution to society and to wish you much continued success!

    Like

  11. Rachel said:

    You look happy, and your chickens look happy! Thank you for standing up to the giants and doing the right thing! You have and will continue to inspire many with your courage…thank you!

    Like

  12. Jennifer Wentworth said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so happy that you are back to raising chickens the natural way. I am a teacher and show Food, Inc. to my seniors every year. The section about the way chickens are raised always fills them with disgust. You are a role model, someone who stood up for herself and her integrity, and I admire you greatly. Keep it up and all the best!

    Like

  13. Peter Mundy said:

    Congratulations again, Carole. A tremendously inspiring story.

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  14. What a fantastic video to follow up your appearance in Food, Inc, where you were the person who made the biggest impression on me — you were SO BRAVE to tell your story, and I’m so happy you’re in a better place now. I’m inspired to fight for food system change!

    Like

  15. Saw the story and video on Grist, then found Fix Food, and found my way here and to your facebook page. I can echo Leslie H – your story on Food Inc. made a lasting impression on me too. I watched the movie several times, then I changed my shopping habits.

    Fast forward a couple of years, and our beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy all come from local farmers who do things right. Our wild-caught salmon comes from a small Alaskan family fishery that one of our local farmers partners with. We grow a lot of our own veggies, most of the rest comes from local, better-than-organic growers. I barely set foot in a grocery store anymore. Even our sweet old Lab-mix eats local. Food Inc. changed my shopping habits, and improved my health, and probably saved our sweet geriatric doggie’s life, since the kibble the vet recommended was slowly killing him, and making him sicker and more miserable every day. Now that he eats fresh local, homemade food, he has a new lease on life and is amazingly healthy and so much happier two years later. Real food heals people, our pets, and the planet.

    Congratulations on your new lease on life.

    Like

  16. Jessica said:

    Shocked is the only word I could use to describe my reaction to the documentary my aunt in Alabama showed me on a recent trip to her house. I couldn’t eat meat for a week and swore I never would again!
    This all happened only two and a half weeks ago, and since that time, and rather eerily I might add, all sorts of related incidents have been brought to my attention.

    For example, I’m in the soul deadening job search adventure, more like a prison sentence in this economy, and the very day following our return home, low and behold a job hit for Monsanto! It was almost as if I could hear somewhere in the background the Twilight Zone theme! I even text my aunt immediately saying, “guess who is hiring?!”

    The next occurrence was the nightmare about being on my grandfather’s farm as a child and being so upset when the animals were taken away.

    Now this morning I’m really beginning to wonder what the underlying message for me is, as I open a randomly purchased Oprah magazine to find an article about your experience with the documentary and loss of your contract with Perdue!

    Ok, Ok… What is the meaning of this for me? I’m not sure yet, but if there is one, I know it will be revealed eventually!

    Glad to hear about your new farming adventure and I truly wish you the very best!!

    God bless those who have the courage to make a stand!

    Blessings,

    Jessica
    Seymour, IN

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  17. Dear Carol,

    Why do you have this blog? To inform people right? But honestly your not getting through to enough people.

    I think you need to talk to the people at TED.com, as a follow up to Food Inc.

    What many don’t realize is that this is NOT just an American problem, it’s a GLOBAL problem.

    And its much more than just Chickens, it’s all type’s of food production.

    How many people remember the Nation wide Funeral Pyres in the United Kingdom, when over 10 million sheep and cattle burned.

    http://colinmcpherson.photoshelter.com/image/I00009ANo9kOsRPs

    How many remember that you had to be scanned and cleaned at the airport if you’d been to the UK while this was happening.

    I think in our hearts we all know the current system is flawed, so congratulations to you on doing something about it. Seriously, as it probably took a lot of soul searching a lot of courage and a lot of faith and hard work.

    Again I urge you to contact TED.com, so you can encourage not only the consumers but more so the small farmers as well, who may well be in the same boat that you were when Purdue ended, it may well give those people the encouragement and faith to proceed rather than thinking they’re all alone, and it can be done

    All the best, and again congratulations.

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  18. Thank you!

    For all the back breaking work, the food you produce, and the will to keep on going. Farming is one of the very hardest jobs ever, and often goes unrecognized. We elevate sports and entertainment folk as heroes, but YOU are the REAL hero. As a city person, I often think of all the workers out there who make it possible for me to just walk into a store and purchase what I need to LIVE. I do try very hard to always go the the many farmer’s markets, and do buy most of our food there. Thanks to people like you, I can. 🙂

    Like

  19. You have really inspired me, and I just wanted to say thank you for your hard work. 🙂

    Like

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    about worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    Like

  21. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up very fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to
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    Like

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