“The work of reviving rural communities will begin when we can imagine a rural future that makes a place for at least some of our best and brightest children, when they are welcome to be at home among us. Only then will we be serious about any future at all”.
Paul Gruchow - Grass Roots - the universe of home
We’re the Vierow family, Bob, Lori, Lindsey, Emily, and April of Elmhurst; and we can trace our farming heritage back to Europe to the middle of the 19th century.
Both the Vierow family and the Brackmann families came from northern Germany in the 1870’s & 80’s. The Vierows’ settled in rural Addison along Salt Creek on Wooddale Road. The Brackmann family, my mother’s family, settled in Rural Glen Ellyn on Main Street. Both my grandfathers began farming using techniques passed on to them by their fathers. Both started their farms using draft horses as their main source of assistance and brute strength while working the fields. Both ran successful dairy farms and Henry Vierow, my grandfather, sold produce at the vegetable market on South Water Street in Chicago during the summer months. My father, Herbert at age eleven, drove the farm truck to the city to make the deliveries. Everyone pitched in during those lean years in the 1930’s to survive; and both families survived and thrived running diverse farms that included, in addition to the dairy products and produce, hogs, chickens, hay, and grains.
My grandfathers practiced crop rotations to keep weed and pests under control. They saved the best of their seeds year after year, the seeds in turn acclimated to the local conditions of the farms to produce healthy plants for both human and animal consumption, this continued well into the 1950’s. When my father took over farming a major change was transforming agriculture into agribusiness. Corn was becoming the main crop grown on farms, gone were the bucolic dairy farms of my Grandparent’s time. Monoculture ruled, green pastures and animals were replaced with corn and soybeans. Farm labor was replaced by large machines, as the trend continued, children left the farms for “a better” life in the cities. It is said that the average age of farmers in America is now 58. Who is going to grow our food if this unsustainable trend continues?
Fast forward to the present, with your help as a shareholder, we can return to the bucolic days of the past, and create the opportunities for our young to survive and even thrive on a family farm. On the land I rent in Dundee I again use crop rotations to control weed and pest pressures. I purchase organic seed and grow all my produce using organic methods. I will never use chemical fertilizers, weed killers, or pesticides on any food I grow, ever! Working with Cliff of Barrington Natural Farms where he is reintroducing animals to an abandoned dairy farm I will be using the natural fertilizer those animals produce to rehabilitate the soil to grow fresh, local and sustainable food for you and your family. Eventually I hope to grow everything I supply to you using the seeds I save, being nourished using fertilizers the plants and animals supply; and giving the opportunity to my kids so they can stay on the farm and continue our rich agricultural heritage.
the vierow girls
the next generation of farmers?
farmer bob, april and the"not so silent partner" lori
april enjoying life, she loves to drive the golf cart
farmer bob with the cultivating tractor