Sisters in Farms: Veterans and Farmers
In service of our country these women veterans and farmers share their experience in leaving the military and launching their farm business and how they have been healed along the way.
HOSTS, AUDRA MULKERN and KATE DOUGHTY
Mickey of Dot Ranch
Established in 2010 by US Army and Oregon National Guard Veteran Mickey Willenbring, Dot Ranch was one veteran's answer to the question of what comes after war. As a disabled combat veteran, Mickey felt a strong call to return to her rural roots, and seek healing in the land and the unjudging presence of animals. With an extensive background in ecological restoration efforts and agriculture, it was just natural to start a pasture based ranch that specialized in heritage breeds. Joined by her child, and now by her husband, Dot Ranch is 100% family owned and operated. They provide a wide range of products including artisanal meats, eggs, hand tanned pelts, skulls, fiber products, and finished goods. All of their products are certified Homegrown by Heroes through the Farmer Veteran Coalition and the USDA, proving that your purchase supports a genuine military family-run operation.
Here at Dot Ranch, we pride ourselves on our stewardship of both land and animal. We raise some of the oldest breeds of domesticated animals in all the Americas. The central focus of our ranch is the oldest breed of domesticated sheep in America, the Navajo-Churro Sheep. We also raise one of the oldest goat breeds, Navajo Angora Goats, and the second oldest chicken of the United States, the Mottled Java. Our ducks are the oldest domesticated animal in the Americas, Muscovy Ducks, and we also breed the venerable Irish Dexter Cattle. We choose to work with heritage breeds instead of more common, modern production bred animals because we believe that ranching is about more than just the bottom line, it's about history, conservation, and preserving the spirit of the American West. There's more to our animals than RFID tags and recorded weights, there's a sense of connection that only comes from daily and intensely personal interaction.
Paula of Green Mantle Farm
Paula served in US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and was recalled to active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm.
After leaving the Navy, she worked in healthcare as a social worker with a focus on assisting the uninsured population.
After the birth of her son, Paula was pulled to return to her rural roots without realizing that it was an effort to heal her injured spirit from the toll of working with injured people.
She has recently moved with her husband and son to Floyd County in NW Georgia, to join her parent's- both military veterans- in raising Belted Galloway cattle, a heritage breed.
Green Mantle Farm is named after the quote from Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, "Water, soil and the earth's green mantle of plants make up the world that supports the animal life of the earth.".
Green Mantle Farm's mission of breeding heritage livestock, poultry and waterfowl in a sustainable manner, not only helps to save these breeds for future generations while healing our lands but also by reaching out to women veterans in need through the healing power of Horticulture and Agrotherapy.
Green Mantle Farm is a proud member of Farmer Veteran Coalition, Belted Galloway Society, Inc., The Livestock Conservancy, Georgia Organics, and Georgia Farmer's Market Association.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
To Mickey and Paula, thank you for your service to our nation and for taking the time to share your stories with us.
Thank you to Frank Ozmun of Public Market Goods for creating this tee-shirt opportunity for the podcast to stand up that stool of sustainability.
Thank you to Joe Mulkern for writing and performing our theme and show song.
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY PUBLIC MARKET GOODS, AND YOU!
This podcast is run by volunteers and supported by listeners like you.
Your purchase of THE FEMALE FARMER PROJECT PODCAST TEE by Public Market Goods
helps to subsidize our production costs.