Who would have thought that the Hagerman Valley would be so full of sustainable farmers, activists, and organizations who are trying to make a difference in how we interact with and grow food. We sure didn’t! And we got quite the surprise as we traveled through the valley to speak with some of these individuals.
Our GMO Free Presentation To Hagermann Idaho
We started our tour with our presentation, “Everything You Need to Know about GMOs,” and got a great turn out of people interested in what we had to say.
It was at the presentation that we met James Reed, owner of Onsen Farm. James invited us to see his farm the next day and we experienced the amazing benefits of geothermal farming.
Geothermal Farming Surprises
Because much of Hagerman has geothermal water, James is able to grow tropical fruits year around in his green houses. Yes, you heard that correctly. There are bananas, citrus, and figs growing in IDAHO!
To make things even more exciting, we walked through James’ property as his outlined his plans for turning his farm into a self-sufficient, educational homestead where anyone can come and learn the skills needed to create their own farming oasis.
On his farm, James has been incorporating a system of design called Permaculture, which means “permanent agriculture.” These systems are implemented so that every element within the design work and interact together in a mutually beneficial way. Permaculture is observing what nature is already doing then working with it to create a self-sustaining farm or community.
I highly recommend that you take the opportunity to check out James’ farm if you get the chance and he is more than happy to have you!
After talking with James about his food perspective and his plans for his farm we took a dip in his pond, which consists of fresh spring water that hasn’t seen the light of day in over 200 years. Combined with the hot spring pool he has made, you can see that this place is practically paradise!
Our Interview With James of Onsen Farms
Next: Jodi Cruz of Golden Egg Farm
As we continued on our tour we met up with Jodi Cruz, owner of Golden Egg Farm.
What I loved most about the tour was seeing how each of these individuals brought something unique to their community. Jodi has a small chicken laying operation but also raises goats, cows, sheep, and broiler chickens to feed her family.
Jodi sells her chicken eggs to Idaho’s Bounty and uses absolutely no hormones, antibiotics, or factory farm methods to raise her chickens. In addition to being free range, her chickens also do not eat GMO feed.
In fact Jodi gets her feed from Mike Heath of M & M Heath Farms in Buhl. Yep, these yummy eggs are 100% organic and free range. We just had to give them a try, so they become lunch!
Jodi’s farm is a shining example of an operation you or I could have. Raise your own animals for meat, milk, eggs, what have you, then sell a portion of your product to help supplement the cost of feed. That is exactly what Jodi is doing and this model is working great for her!
Buy Golden Egg Farm Eggs!
Watch our interview with Jodi of Golden Egg Farm here!
Next: Mike Heath of M&M Heath Farms
After lunch we geared up to see Mike Heath, an organic farming pioneer and owner of M & M Heath Farm.
What an eclectic group of farmers we met! Mike took us around his property and we saw his broiler and laying chickens, 13 varieties of tomatoes and peppers, and many of the fields around his home where he grows several varieties of potato, dry beans, peas, wheat, alfalfa, and corn used for his handmade chicken feed.
Mike has been in the business for over 25 years and has seen the face of agriculture change from conventional to GMO crops.
Mike maintains his non-GMO alfalfa and corn and never even attempted to plant the GMO potato when they were on the market. Mike has a very strong stance against the open growth of GMO crops and like most organic farmers, they are a threat to his livelihood.
What a pleasure meeting a “Maverick” like Mike!
To learn more about Mike’s operation and to hear his stance on GMOs click here!
Lunch With Hagerman Manna
We also met with Hagerman Manna, a non-profit organization that makes bread, cookies, and other goodies from local, organic, and non-GMO ingredients. We were invited to have lunch with Hagerman Manna so we could enjoy some of their baked goods and to talk about the importance of locally grown, organic ingredients.
Although I could not enjoy any of the baked goods, Eric and Adriana raved about the homemade pizza crust that was topped with rainbow chard and cashew cheese.
Hagerman Manna is dedicated to educating people about the importance of organic ingredients and teaching people how to use these ingredients to make whole-some foods.
You can read more about Hagerman Manna soon!
Goats In Hagerman Valley Idaho
We can’t forget to mention Green Goat Dairy in Gooding! Jillian Green makes chèvre cheese from her pasture raised goats. She grows her own alfalfa grass mix to ensure organic and non-GMO methods. And when she’s milking her goats they munch on non-GMO grain.
These goats get milked twice a day and Jillian’s cheese is delivered to the Boise Co-Op and 3 Farmers Markets within two days of being made. This stuff is fresh!
If your not into goat cheese, check out the goat soap instead! Infused with coconut and essential oils, Jillian’s goat soap is anti allergenic and moisturizing.
You can read more about Jillian and Green Goat Dairy here!
All in all the weekend wasn’t long enough!! We would have loved to spend a day with each of these movers and shakers and there are many more to see. Needless to say we will go back!
Maybe during the winter months when many of these farmers will still be growing crops because, well, they can. And we can enjoy the warmth of a heated yurt and natural hot springs, and munch on some of the best food in Idaho
At this time, these farmers and their non-GMO, organic farms are flourishing oases in the vast monoculture farming desert that presently covers much of America and the Hagerman Valley.
These farmers do their best to work with nature, rather than against it by using organic, sustainable farming methods to create healthy, vitally alive soils, crops, and animals.
They work hard to not further deplete and destroy Mother Earth and her natural resources.
Let this be a reminder to us all. Seek and you will find. Support and they will grow!
Hagerman Idaho is a very unique place filled with revolutionary people. We were greeted with open arms and eagerness from everyone who shared their projects, stories, and food.
Big thanks to everyone who helped us to promote our presentation and who attended and supported our cause. Thank you to all the revolutionaries who allowed us to see their operations and to share their thoughts and food ideals.
We hope that by doing this state wide tour we can increase the awareness of Idaho food producers like the ones in Hagerman, who are dedicated to providing non-GMO and sustainable food for their communities.