Land is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy that flows through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949
The Dyer Family Organic Farm (aka Dick’s ‘Pretty Good!’ Garlic) was started by Dick and Diana Dyer in 2009 after coming close to dropping out of graduate school in the 1970’s to start an organic farm near Madison, WI. In fact, Aldo Leopold’s essay ‘The Land Ethic’ within his book A Sand County Almanac was one of our earliest inspirations for doing so.
Segueing from multiple advanced degrees within the sciences and careers within the health care field, we finally (at last!) had the pleasure of together becoming “old-new” farmers for our encore careers, putting down our roots in the Ann Arbor area as we moved to the prevention side of the health care spectrum. By growing healthy food in healthy soil, our goal was to create and nourish a healthy community as we began to live our farm’s vision statement:
“Shaping our future from the ground up”
The term ‘our’ is intentionally very large, beginning with the soil, all critters, and the natural resources within our farm’s stewardship along with our family and then extending to our local community, state, society-at-large, and finally, our planet.
This was the most common question we received at the various farmers’ markets we attended. The answers are many but simple:
- Garlic adds its own flavor
- Garlic is a flavor enhancer
- Garlic provides multiple health benefits
- The deer do not eat it (yea!)
- Neither do other critters
- Each variety has its unique complexity of flavors
- We sell happiness!
January 2018 Update: Due to slow recovery from a serious injury during 2016, we have made the very difficult decision to sell all of our garlic seed stock to many local farmers. We have enjoyed the opportunity to sell happiness and know these farmers will each carry on our love for “all things garlic!” in their own way. We wish them all the very best.
However, we have not sold our 15 acre farm and again will look to our past to help develop our future goals, service, and fun. In addition to taking inspiration from Aldo Leopold’s classic essay The Land Ethic, we loved spending time at Goose Pond Sanctuary and the International Crane Foundation, which were both within easy driving distance of The University of Wisconsin – Madison, when we needed a nature break while studying in graduate school so many years ago.