On Saturday morning the Professor and I loaded up the car with a cooler and camera to visit Good Life Ranch in Liberty, Kentucky. I wrote earlier about the decision to add chicken to my diet in effort to improve my health. This has not been an easy choice to make. For years I have preached against the woes of modern farming practices and the production of ridiculously large, hormone-laden, cruelly treated animals. My meat-free lifestyle has become a source of tremendous pride and a significant part of my identity.
Then life threw me a gigantic curve-ball (hello autoimmune disease and PCOS) and left me poking through my fridge, trying to figure out what the heck to eat for dinner.
“WE CAN EAT CHICKEN!!!!!” the Professor and die-hard carnivore said with glee.
“Ugh. I just don’t know…” I blanched.
“Well how about you find some happy chickens,” he suggested.
Cue obsessive researching.
I scoured the Internet for the perfect Kentucky farm that practiced what I had preached for so many years.
- A sustainable farm no more than two hours from Lexington that is run by passionate people
- Preferably a newer establishment where our dollars will truly help a small business and a local economy
- No hormones or crazy chemicals being fed or injected into the animals
- Animals who are allowed to live a good life before they land on your plate
- Animals who are loved and tended to daily
- And, most importantly, a farm that would welcome my husband and I at any time to visit the animals
When I saw Good Life Ranch’s website I knew it was the farm for me. After devouring the detailed information on every page I emailed the owners asking if I, one moderately crazy and intensely passionate animal lover, could pay their farm a visit. Within 24-hours we had set a time and I had informed the Professor that we would be taking a little road trip. He put on his agreeable pants and played along (although I’m sure he would have much preferred to just grab chicken from the co-op one block away!)
Geoff and Lindsey McPherson are my kind of people. Both accomplished educators, Lindsey and Geoff left their jobs in San Antonio, Texas and purchased Good Life Ranch in 2010. Passionate about sustainable farming and education, they are working to grow their business slowly, from the ground up. The farm boasts free-ranging heirloom chickens, cattle, pigs, turkeys and rabbits and organic produce. In addition, the well-traveled McPherson’s are constructing real-life poverty simulations that will provide students from across the country with unique experiences and the knowledge to seek change.
As we trudged through the damp grasses, dodging the occasional cow patty and visiting the animals, Geoff and Lindsey explained their farming practice and passion for sustainable agriculture. As I listened, I became more comfortable with the decision to change my diet. I am not just picking up chicken labeled as free-range at an organic market. I am directly supporting a couple as they chase their dreams, supporting an industry I am fiercely in support of and giving back to the local economy all while working to improve my health.
Honestly, the only better scenario I can think of is to have never gotten sick in the first place, but even then I would not be the strong woman I am today.
The Professor and I ordered 15 chickens, which will be ready for pickup in mid September or early October, and two heirloom turkeys for our Christmas dinner. I’ll be sure to share my adventures in cooking chicken in time!