Liberation Farm in Almond, offers diverse food options.
Holly Petrillo, assistant professor of forestry, began the farm with her husband John Sheffy in 2011. Petrillo said that they first got into farming because they wanted to be able to grow their own food and provide their young daughter the opportunity to grow up on a farm.
One of Petrillo and Sheffy’s main focuses has been restoring their farm and bringing fertility back into the soil.
“Both my husband and I are ecologists and really feel strongly about taking care of the land, so it was our sort of restoration project,” Petrillo said.
Petrillo also said that, initially, one of the main reasons they brought animals to the farm was to add organic matter to the soil.
Currently, they raise heritage pigs, chickens for meat and eggs, goats and rabbits.
“Our main thing is to restore the land but to produce really healthy ethically raised animals too,” Petrillo said.
The goats and pigs graze on pasture. In addition to foraging on the farm, the goats are also rented out to eat invasive species on other properties.
Liberation Farm sells goat, pork, chicken and eggs at both the winter and summer farmers’ markets in Stevens Point.
Liberation Farm also sells coffee, which they buy directly from farmers in Mexico. Petrillo and Sheffy organize volunteer trips to Oaxaca, Mexico each winter to help the coffee farmers harvest the coffee.
Petrillo said that Sheffy met these farmers ten years ago at the farmers market in the city of Oaxaca. At the time, Petrillo said that she and Sheffy were growing much of their own food and wanted to make coffee more personal, since it was one product which could not be produced locally.
The couple has returned to Mexico each year to help with the harvest since then. During this time, Petrillo said that the farmers have become like family. The volunteers stay with the farmers during the trip and everyone cooks and shares meals together. Petrillo said that this creates a sense of community.
“Everyone learns how to make tortillas,” Petrillo said.
Petrillo describes the farms as “a forest with some coffee, they have an intact overstory, and there’s all kind of really delicious things there… There’s a lot of citrus, allspice and cinnamon trees all in the overstory and then they have vanilla vines that grow up the trees and up the coffee, so really when you are there it’s like you are in this forest and then the coffee is underneath.”
Liberation Farmers provides a coffee CSA (community-supported agriculture) for 50 area families. They sell coffee in canning jars, which they roast weekly.
More information can be found on the farm’s Facebook page or on their website liberationfarmers.blogspot.com.