THE FARM: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
Before the time of Third Day Farm, the land was used as a homestead by Richard and Lena Raden, Anne’s parents. The original tract of land was 160 acres and belonged to the family since the late 1800’s. The couple built a farmhouse on the land, where Anne and her seven siblings were raised, along with foster children they cared over the years. To feed their growing family, Rich and Lena utilized their land, cultivating produce and raising livestock. By the measure of hunger, there farm was a success–the children were full and happy. If they longed for anything, it was processed foods, that seemed exotic and out of reach. While the farm produced successfully, raising a large family on one income meant that their Christmas wish to eat hotdogs would be thwarted in lieu of steaks from the freezer. The families wealth was measured in their ability to feed their family and there was always enough. They were good farmers and generous people, often sharing a meal and laughter with their neighbors. To Rich and Lena, like many of their generation, conventional farming methods proved “successful” and they saw no reason to change.
A portion of the Raden’s original land was handed down to Anne and Bob Gothard, including Anne’s home of nearly 56 years. When Bob arrived 30 years later, his memory of South Korean farmers growing abundant crops in frigid climates inspired hope of someday implementing similar strategies. Over the years the couple discovered inspirational farmers like Eliot Coleman, from Maine, known for his expertise in growing in cold climates and John Jeavons, a leader in the Biointesive Growing movement. They befriended farmer/teacher Craig Schaaf–an inspiration for both his farming abilities and his sturdy faith. Through Craig’s mentorship, the couple grew more convicted of their farm’s mission and more clear of our goal to move away from the conventional methods. Their passion, not only for God’s creation, but for His ability to provide the abundant resources for healing the body–all available in nature–gained clarity as well. Through managing soil microbiology, Bob and Anne began to notice vitamin and mineral rich vegetables like salad greens, oozing with “milk,” indicative of vitality and health. Their bodies began to crave good food. Their vegetables were suddenly bursting with flavor.
On the farm today there are presently two 13′ by 40′ heirloom tomato greenhouses in operation. In the autumn months ahead, two more greenhouses will be added. A 24′ by 40′ seedling greenhouse is expected to be completed before winter. Though 3rd Day’s methods may be changing from the farm’s early historical conventions, one aspect that will remain unchanged is the Raden’s generosity of spirit and their love of community. The farm is always open and welcomes visitors. Anne and Bob are inspired to share their love of land, offering their farm with be a “teaching farm,” by inviting schools and churches to share and learn, while reconnecting visitors to the source of good food.