Jim Moyer and his wife operate Old Crowe Farm in Red Oak Virginia. There they raise heritage livestock and grow heirloom vegetables. They don't come from farming stock:
"My wife and I are in our early fifties. I retired from the military, had been working as a paramedic and 911dispatcher. Jacquelyn left her corporate life in Texas working for a medical device company. Our goal is to take the land and be able to survive on this. To be able to raise enough food for us and also raise enough that we can sell and maintain the lifestyle that we want to maintain here without working off the farm."
The Moyer's transition from working for others to becoming farmers began in the garden:
"My wife and I planted a garden and from the excess that we had we were able to sell to a local vendor. She ran an open air farmers market. We looked and that and said, 'just by selling what we produce in excess…there's a want here and a business opportunity.' And so we attended the VABF conference, which introduced us to a lot of different things, a lot of different people, a lot of different techniques that have put us on the path where we are today."
The "VABF" Conference is the Virginia Association of Biological Farming Conference. The Moyers attended that in 2010 and Jim says they were introduced to many things that engaged their interest,
(Jim Sustainable 2 joining) "…organic farming, sustainable agriculture, holistic management, just to name a few. And it was important for us when looking to become members of the association the biological farming aspect of things and doing things in a natural way."
The 2016 Virginia Biological Farming Conference is this week at the Skelton 4-H Center in Franklin County. Moyer, who is the Treasurer of the VABF, says the speakers, exhibits, and programs cover all aspects of natural farming from becoming a grower of a cash crop, to crop cover, tillage, Chinese medicinal herbs, farm equipment, and making connections with people.
"It's a great way to talk to people that have the same mindset as you. That are working toward the same goals, have the same ideas. So it's a great network opportunity and sometimes you make the best contacts, the best friends at going to these conferences and that has helped us over the years."
The Conference is this Friday and Saturday with pre-conference events Thursday.