It Needs to Be Told
The story of Carter's Honey Creek Farm in Howard County, Indiana, is a microcosm of the story of local food everywhere ... and it’s a story that needs to be told.
In 1974, Tim Carter came home to the family farm from Purdue with the vision for America’s "big ag" taught in ag classrooms everywhere. Through the ’80s he followed after what the USDA said would be the future of food: confinement livestock, large-scale grain, and lab-engineered innovations (GMO and chemical combinations).
In 1997, the hog market crashed. Corn prices followed a few years later. By 2000, Tim was working a full-time off-farm job. The barns were empty. His father’s 1944 tractor was parked, no longer needed. And the future of the 80-acre farm that had been in the family for three generations was uncertain.
Then, something interesting happened. While Tim still had a few head of cattle grazing on his land, a co-worker asked if he could buy a half cow for his freezer. The next year, a few more. Then more people in the community heard of the great grass-fed beef from his farm.
After a decade, his handful of beef turned into 24 head of cattle on the pasture, and every one sold direct to a consumer. Two years ago, he introduced pasture-raised chickens to the farm (and sold out immediately). This year, the chickens have doubled and the demand continues to grow.
In 2016, the farm came full circle. For the first time since the crash of 1997, hogs are on the farm again. This time, however, roaming freely on pasture and eating non-GMO grain.
Honey Creek Farm joined FarmersMarket.com this past summer, along with 60 other vendors that all share similar stories. This is the story of local food farming in America.