Paying the Farm Forward

I’m a bit ambivalent about broadcasting our plans for passing our farm on to our “heirs”, in part because it’s something of a private matter, but also because of life’s inherent mutability:  we can make detailed plans, put things in order as best we can, and life will bring the unexpected twist, the unforeseen tragedy, or the serendipitous windfall.

willard spring 2012And yet we feel strongly that the land is only on loan to us, and that we must do what we Jerry and Mariennecan to insure that the conservation and sustainability practices Marienne’s father, Willard and Dorothy, implemented starting in the 1940’s, and the improvements that we have made, continue.  It’s a matter of trust and common good.

The way we like to think of it is that God has given us the loan of this land, but it’s an odd kind of loan:  we’re not supposed to pay it back, but rather to pay it forward, to pass it on to the next caretakers in even better shape that we found it.  And we’re supposed to pay dividends to the community in the form of good food, a beautiful landscape, sequestered carbon, and clean water.

Kiri Amos SethWhat do we get out of all this?  We get to live here.  To experience this intense adventure.  To have our eyes and hearts filled with the beauty of creation every day.

So, here is an article about that transition from Willard to Marienne and me, and on to the next generation.

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Working with Minnesota Premium Garlic Project

New Garlic Project LogoIn my continuing effort to never have any free time, I am co-directing the Minnesota Premium Garlic Project as part of my work with Sustainable Farming Association.  The mission is to enhance garlic growing and markets in our state, helping farmers, communities and customers.  We’re creating and promoting the “Minnesota Premium Garlic” brand (after all, it is some of the best you can get!), offering a series of workshops and field days, doing some research on cultivation practices, and conducting consultations with new and existing growers.

I can’t say enough good things about my co-director on this project, Garlic Beauty Shot low rezConnie Carlson – she is focusing on the marketing and financial side.  You may know her from her work with Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and MN Garlic Festival.

Please check out the website:

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Garlic Planting Help Wanted

October means Garlic Planting at Living Song Farm, and we love having guest help out! Garlic Field Prep

Revised schedule
We’ll start on
Friday, 10/20/17*
and go for as many days as needed until we’re done.

So, pick a day and time and let me know.
We are happy to pay you with money, organic potatoes, all the advice you can stand about growing garlic, or undying gratitude.  And, of course, a great lunch is provided.

Call me (Jerry Ford) at 763-244-6659, or email

Looking forward to it!

*Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.  Literally, since we’re planting 50′ from the creek.

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FullSizeRender-10When the root cellar is in its late summer splendor, that must mean it’s potato pickin’ time in Middleville Township!  We have our organic Purple Majesty and MonDak Gold spuds ready – take a look here to get yours. And there’s just a few pounds of garlic available for our friends.
Hope to see you soon!

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Garlic Harvest Help Wanted

July 15 & 16, 2017

If you’d like to learn how we do garlic harvest and curing, or if you’d just like to help out, we’re planning on Saturday and Sunday, 7/15&16, for the harvest.  We’re happy to Old Garlic Harvestreward you with money, garlic and/or undying gratitude.  Call me (Jerry) at 763-244-6659, or email

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Time to Order Beef

FreemartinsWe will have our beef, which is hormone-free and grass-finished on certified organic pasture, available in the Fall of 2017.

Please go to our Beef Page for more info

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Wrapping Up the Season


Garlic mulching with Emilyrose

We finally mulched the garlic on November 21st, which is quite late;  but we were blessed with an incredible Indian Summer, so all is well.  Beef has been sold, almost all the potatoes are out the door, and the chickens have come home to their winter residence.

It was the longest grazing season in memory, with good grass right up to the beginning of November.  Very happy cattle!


Orbit, Timely & Spangle

Now we’re cutting wood for the woodstove and settling in as the days get so very short (this Southern boy is still getting used to that).  It’s been a beautiful autumn, and I’m actually looking forward to winter – but ask me again in February.

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