Jon Ingerson, his with Angela, and their new baby boy, Wesley, at Windy Meadows farm in Clemons, NY.
Jon Ingerson, who runs Windy Meadows Farm in Clemons, NY, with his wife, Angela, doesn’t know much about a five-day work week.
“The alarm clock goes off at 4:30 every morning, seven days a week,” he said. Chores start with the chickens—grading, washing, and packing eggs—before heading over to the sow farrowing facility, where Jon checks his ledger to determine which piglets need to be weaned and which sows need their pen cleaned.
Chores can go quick or they can last all day, depending on what needs to be built, repaired, or installed. “We always find a way to take at least a half a day off on Sunday to just get away from the whole farm. That’s important.”
There’s no denying it: Being a farmer is hard work! But being a small farmer, forging a path outside of the factory farming system tract, can be even harder. “In America now and all over the world, it’s all factory farms. I call them pig factories,” Jon said. “They’re just feeding them full of growth hormones and antibiotics and fillers that just make them grow so fast that it’s completely unnatural. And as humans we’re eating that, and it’s scary. It just seems like, way back in the day, people weren’t having all these health issues.”=
Unlike those factory outfits, Jon’s been dividing pastures into paddocks and rotating them since his grandfather taught him the ropes. He’s never believed in speeding up the growth process or raising animals on slotted or concrete floors, where they’re unhappy and conditions are inhumane.
But running a small business, and doing so ethically, isn’t easy. Jon learned how to handle the paperwork side from his grandfather, with whom he used to sit and do the book work when he was a child, but there’s still much more that goes into a working farm. That’s where Walden members help Jon succeed.
“I did pile of research on [Walden] and I really liked what they’re doing because I was trying to do the same thing myself,” Jon said. “But as far as marketing and getting out there, a little guy in the middle of nowhere, it’s almost impossible unless you got $1 million or some really good investors.”
With the steady sales from Walden members, the Ingersons have grown Windy Meadows Farm from five to 400 pigs on over 380 acres. They also raise chickens, cows, sheep, and grows soy, hay and corn. There’s also a special new addition to the farm: their son, Wesley, who was born earlier this year. As their farm—and their family—grows, the Ingersons know that it won’t be easy, but with the help of Walden members and a strong work ethic, they can continue to do what they love and be successful.
“Well, for me, it’s not about money. It’s about fulfillment,” Jon said. “ At the end of the day, I feel if you’re not fulfilled, then you’re not gaining anything in life. That’s what makes my world go round.”