ABOUT OUR FARM
Brad and Megan Fowler hard at work and play.
If someone had asked us when we were kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, neither of us would have responded farmers. It wasn’t that we had adverse opinions on farming as a career, it was really more that the idea of being a farmer never really crossed our line of sight. Although we both grew up in families that ate dinner at home together every night, we grew up disconnected from our food. Rationally we understood that everything we put in our bodies started at one time from a vegetable or animal life form that was raised, harvested, and sold by a farmer, but what did that really mean? When you buy everything from one grocery store, how much can you really learn about the origins of your food, or why that’s even important?
Flash forward, through a few decades of learning and growing, to adulthood and now neither one of us can imagine living our life in another way. We’ve found our life on this farm to be a very natural fit. We wear a lot of different hats, and we like it that way. On any given day we get to be animal wranglers, electricians, graphic designers, cooks, and above and beyond anything else problem solvers. We’ve learned that if you’re open to hard work and have a desire to continually improve on what you’ve just done, you’ll go to bed tired but with a sense of accomplishment.
ADVENTURES IN FARMING:
Adventures in Farming is the name of our farm blog (located on the homepage), but it stands as a platform for one of the elements of this farm that we put a premium on: transparency. Transparency not just in our farming practices, but in what goes on behind the scenes to make this menagerie work. We found that when the idea of this farm was barely hatched, and we were scouring libraries and the internet for any and all information we could get our hands on there were areas that had significant gaps. If you want to know about one facet in particular you can click on it’s corresponding category in the sidebar for any and all posts relating to those issues.
1) The Financial Side: We read about a lot of individuals and couples who had a dream of starting their own farm… and then when out and did it. But we kept asking how? How do you get the capital to make such a life change? If your parents weren’t active farmers and you didn’t grow up on a farm, how do you even know where to begin in terms of pricing things out or getting financial backing for a small sustainable farm option.
2) Quality of Life: Yes, if you’re a farmer you probably have a natural love and admiration for nature and it’s inhabitants, but what does it really mean to be a modern farmer and how does that impact the other aspects of your life? How do you raise well adjusted children when you’re relatively isolated? Are you too tired to read or cook dinner? One of us is a letterpress printer (Megan), will she still be able to have that business and be a farmer? Nobody wants to tell you that what they are doing isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread, but we wanted to be able to discuss the realities of our life here, both the ups and downs.
3) How do I Begin?: How did you get started? What animals did you begin with and what mistakes did you make early on?
4) Sourcing Issues: How do we find what we’re looking for: a) organic feed? b) humane, skillful, and professional processors? c) farmers markets to sell at? d) customers?
THE FARM & IT’S NAME:
Three Centuries Farm is located on a 31 – acre historic farm property about 15 miles outside of downtown Sparta, Georgia. It began in the 1800’s as a 4,000 acre cotton plantation. In the 20th century, as much of those 4,000 acres were sold off and the South was still recovering from both the Civil War and the Depression, it was transformed into a small industrial farm that served the surrounding communities with crops, livestock, eggs, and even dry goods by selling directly on farm. (Did we mention that there’s an old general store on the property?) In the 1970’s the farm went dormant as an active working farm when much of the land was sold off for timber or other uses. That brings us to 2008, the third and final century, when the farm was purchased by the Boling family (Megan’s family) in 2008. After the family spent a few years of visiting the farm on the weekends and being “hobby farmers”, Brad and Megan decided to move down here full time in 2010. Within a few months they begin working on how to make this place a functioning successful farm again, and ta-dah! Three Centuries Farm was born.
This farm has gone through several different iterations of farming styles, each iteration linked to it’s time and place, and we feel like we represent a third century of farming. One that strives to improve the land, not just use it.