From The Button Farm in Maryland, I found myself on a beautiful 94 acres of land, tucked into the wooded hills of Gordonsville, Virginia. This land has been nurtured and stewarded by Mr. and Mrs. Turner, as well as a large herd of goats, for the last 11 years.
Vanguard Ranch raises Myotonic goats for meat. (Known as fainting goats because of their tendency to stiffen up and fall over!) They sell curried goat, goat kabobs and goat burgers to their larger community by traveling to festivals and fairs in their mobile kitchen, while also marketing to local food stores. (Goat is the most commonly consumed red meat in the world!) They also grow a variety of vegetables which are sold to the Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA, because as Renard says ” You’ve got to have more than one avenue of income stream.”
My time on Vanguard Ranch was spent keeping up with the fast-moving Renard during his busy days of tending to the land, spring seeding, tending to the goats and the fencing that keeps the goats in. Not to mention making stops around town to buy seed, feed and attend community events like the screening of the film The World According to Monsanto, hosted by the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and other groups that are suing Monsanto for their practices with GMO seeds.
Renard and Chinette were a family passionate about self-sufficiency, having moved from Washington D.C. to Virginia in the 70’s with a desire to be fully independent and sustainable on their own land. They are firm believers in the ideology that self-sufficiency equals freedom, because “being dependent on broken systems is simply not sustainable.” With their thriving business rooting from their own land, they are paving the way to freedom for us all.
Renard and Chinette Turner pose in their home at Vanguard Ranch
These posts are just snippets of the interviews for The Color of Food photo documentary book! Next stops on the tour are along the coasts of North and South Carolina, holla at me! And check out the NEW Color of Food website!