Thanks for visiting Green Willow Homestead! My partner and our menagerie of livestock and pets are overjoyed to call Northwest Wisconsin our home. After living in Chicago for seven years, touring nationally as a professional actor, and working as a film producer, I was ready for a change of pace. I looked around at my life and felt an undeniable pull to reconnect with my true sense of home. When I stopped to ask myself what that was, I was genuinely surprised to hear my inner child yell out, "On a farm!"
My two best friends growing up both had farms, one big and one small. Nearly every day after school was spent on their properties to live vicariously through them, their gardens, and their animals. Through their friendship, I got involved in 4-H which ironically is what got me involved with performing arts and photography. While I pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting and photography, I also gravitated towards classes and subjects that involved the local food movement, Transition Towns, and lessening our carbon footprint. After being deeply moved by the Forks Over Knives documentary, I promptly became a vegan for four years. While I was anything but an Oreos and french fries vegan - I was still deeply unhealthy. Even though I ate organic vegetables and tofu, read all the vegan blogs, and stayed up to date on vegan activism - I knew something wasn't right.
My health plummeted. I had brain fog, I lost my menstruation cycle, I suffered from adult acne, I had no energy, and I felt like I had to eat every hour to stay sane. I even sought the help of a naturopathic doctor to get to the bottom of why I felt like my body was falling apart to no avail.
Then I learned about sustainable farming and everything changed. I realized that livestock could be raised in a way that was better for their health, our own health, and the health of the planet. In taking the time to understand all sides of the issue when it came to climate change, I learned that carbon farming, i.e. taking carbon from the atmosphere and putting it back in the soil with the help of grazing animals, was one of many ways to heal our planet.
I had my first bite of grass-fed steak in 2013 and a new chapter in my life began. As I incorporated more pastured animal fats, organs, and meat into my diet - my vitality returned. My acne cleared up, my menstrual cycle returned, and I didn't have to eat six times a day to feel stable. In a matter of months, it felt as if someone had lifted a heavy curtain from my body and mind.
As I gained a deeper understanding on how the quality of food we eat is directly affected by how it's raised, my passion shifted from being just an educated consumer to becoming a sustainable producer. I found my footing as a small-scale female farmer on my first farm in Milwaukee, WI where we raised pastured hens on 5 acres for five years. Then in early 2020, my husband and I decided to move to Northwest Wisconsin to be closer to our folks. We now call 80-acres of beautiful forest and pasture our home.
Over the years I've taught myself how to grow and preserve food, make kombucha, and butcher my own chickens. Taking full responsibility for my food connected me to the earth in a way I hadn't experienced before. The first meal that we grew and raised entirely by ourselves was sacred for me. I finally understood what it meant to have a relationship to the food that I ate, both plant and animal.
Here you can find down-to-earth insights on how to keep pastured chickens, details on all my organic vegetable garden know-how, and discover how we live a sustainable and toxin-free life.