The JustLiving Farm is located in the Yakama Valley of the Yakama Nation in south-central Washington. This 65-acre farm is mostly tillable ground with irrigation provided by Cascade Range snow run-off. We provide folk with natural grass-fed beef, alfalfa hay, and day, over-night, and week-long visit opportunities. We also raise a few meat goats and a few chickens for eggs. We do this with the help of three or four cats, the dog, our family, our neighbors and visitors.
Our farm work is based in Landscape Theology—perhaps not surprising when you learn one of us is a social worker and the other is a pastor. This is to say we do our best to pay attention to sustainable practices that best enhance the living conditions of the farms soil, water, plants, and animals. We manage the farm holistically while paying close attention to three sectors: crops, animals, range. We farm approximately 20-acres of hay. We have roughly15-acres in rotational pasture. Twenty acres are taking a sabbatical during 2015, the remaining 10-acres is rangeland with the home, shop, and barn taking up roughly 3 acres. Our rangeland is not land at rest but rather dynamic natural habitat for quail, pheasants, rabbits, voles, and field mice, many who are displaced by our farming practices. Leaving natural rangeland surrounding the farmable land allows natural predators—hawks and coyotes—a wild food source as opposed to having our animals for supper. These farming practices have led to minimal livestock loss due to predation.
We strive to care for our community by volunteering when and where we can. We also recognize we a lucky and privileged to live the life we do. So, each year we donate farm resources. In 2014, 10 goats and 10 ton of hay were given to community members.
We raise our livestock using naturally-raised, rotational pasture standards. Our feeding standards are simple when it comes to our animals, natural grasses during the spring, summer, and fall, and farm-grown grass and alfalfa hay during the winter. Our animals are not supplemented with antibiotics and our soil isn’t supplemented with chemical fertilizers. Livestock have access to clean, fresh water and allowed to roam and feed in open fields. The health and wellbeing of our livestock is our highest priority; therefore, they receive mineral supplementation, veterinarian care, and anti-parasitic drugs and vaccinations to protect their health.
Our goal is to live out sustainable farming practices by treating the land as generational art. We do our best to consider the generational impact of our practices before we till the soil, choose our plant seed, and birth/buy livestock. Hay and pasture is grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. In turn, our animals are raised on this same pasture and hay. Pastures and hay are managed by using animal rotation and cutting practices to balance pests and weeds while enhancing natural beneficial insects and plants. By holding future generations in mind, we live into sustainable practices that endeavor to listen to tomorrow’s voices and leave the land at least as good as we found it. Our continual goal is to use sustainable farming practices and treat the landscape as natural art. We might not get the justice right every time, but we’re working on it.