We are so glad you are here! We are Jim and Joelle, and we love sharing homestead how-to’s, nourishing recipes, and natural do-it-yourself projects to help you live from field (or maybe small garden plot) to kitchen. We live on a 5-acre homestead in northern IL with our 3 kids (one more on the way!), 2 dogs, couple of cows, and smattering of chickens.
Our goal is to feed our family, as much as possible, all year through what we are able to produce on the farm. But it hasn’t always been this way. We were both born and raised in the suburbs and never thought about where our food came from. It wasn’t until a few years into our marriage, in 2012, that things shifted.
We knew we wanted to have kids but I (Joelle) struggled with a long history of disordered eating and over exercise that led to hypothalamic amenorrhea – you can read all about my recovery from that here. A big part of our journey to getting pregnant naturally involved overhauling our diet. We removed processed foods, began cooking from scratch using real food ingredients – meats, eggs, unprocessed dairy, fruits and vegetables. We began sourcing our foods locally, visiting farms and farmers and getting to know where our food came from.
Then we attempted to grow it ourselves. Within a few years, our 1/3 acre suburban home had chickens, bees, fruit trees, and a garden covering the entire front yard. The more we learned and did the more we wanted to expand, eventually leading us to our dream of owning our own homestead. So here we are, milking a cow each morning, rotationally grazing our cows on pasture, and growing thousands of pounds of food to feed our family.
Preparing traditional, nourishing, and from scratch food is another huge passion of ours. The kitchen is definitely the center of our home and we spend a lot of time there! We’ve experienced first-hand the healing power of a nutrient dense diet unlike the processed foods we had grown accustomed to. In our kitchen you are guaranteed to find jars fermenting on the counter, cheese aging, shelves lined with homegrown canned fruits and veggies, and fresh produce stored for use all year. I am a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (fntp) with a BS in food science and human nutrition. We love continuing to learn about nutrition and how we can eat optimally for health.
For over a decade of my life, I was malnourished. While for me, this was a combination of:
- Choosing to not fuel my body properly because of a desire to look a certain way or see a specific number on the scale.
- Choosing foods that I THOUGHT were healthy but were really only marketed to appear that way.
“What an extraordinary achievement for a civilization to have developed the one diet that reliably makes its people sick!” – Michael Pollan
This generation of children is the first in recent history to have a life expectancy shorter than their parents. You don’t have to look far to see the rising rates of almost every disease and condition possible and beginning in younger and younger people. We are chronically overfed and under nourished. While this appears grim, there is SO much hope. We have better access to nutrient dense foods than ever before IF we choose them!
Whenever I think of what I want to be when I grow up, the phrase that always comes to mind is “nourishing families.” Just as we went from not knowing whether we’d be able to get pregnant at all to having three robustly healthy kids – this change from sick to health, malnourished to nourished is within reach.
You get three opportunities to vote with your food choices each day and each one has the potential to change your own life and the world!
“Cooking (from scratch) is the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well-being.” – Michael Pollan
I thought my next 30 years were set. I had my dream job as a construction manager using my BS in construction. But here’s what I couldn’t ignore:
- My true passion was working and creating with my hands and being in nature.
- I cared more about preserving and replenishing land than seeing it developed.
- Construction, like many industries, gave little regard to toxic, cheaply made materials and sustainable practices and I wanted to devote myself to true craftsmanship and natural products.
Leaving that career in 2019 to pursue agriculture felt like a huge leap, but I couldn’t imagine a work and lifestyle more well suited for our family. The more I learn, the more I see that farming responsibly and regeneratively has unlimited capability to do good for people and planet. I love developing small-scale farm systems, sourcing natural or reused products in the home or on the farm, and learning ol’ fashioned skills.
As for our food journey, early on I played the supportive yet quietly resistant role as my potato chips and pop-tarts rapidly vanished from our home. Why change what’s working? I soon realized the food system I knew all my life wasn’t working and my body was suffering as a result.
Digestive issues, mood swings, breaking out in hives, and seasonal allergies were all part of my “normal” world. I would have never attributed them to what I ate. But, as we changed what and how we ate, these symptoms, one-by-one, disappeared. I experienced life and vitality on levels I didn’t know were possible and became a firm believer in eating real food and making healthy lifestyle choices.
And I believe men in general are severely underrepresented in the health and wellness realm, and in the kitchen! I want to see more men not just settle for the support role but actively take part in their family’s nourishment.
A little bit about us…
Jim is a dreamer, big idea guy, and visionary. Joelle is practical, loves details, and schedules.
Jim is the resident cheese and bread maker. Joelle milks Thimble (our milk cow) each morning.
Before farming and kids Jim was a competitive cyclist. Joelle ran marathons.
Jim loves wood working, the Counting Crows, and Chinese food. Joelle loves yoga, overalls, and peanut butter and ice cream (preferably together).