Ash Grove Farm, Jericho Corners, Vermont
Chris Sims, a lifelong fiber artist, filled her empty nest with a flock of sheep in 2010. Formerly a nurse, a writer, a homeschooling mom, and an avid gardener, she fell in love with farming when a trip to a local dairy farm to buy raw milk turned into seven years of employment at that farm, milking cows on the pre-dawn shift and helping with the haying, all the while ruminating on how she could someday have a farm of her own.
In creating Ash Grove Farm, Chris seeks to demonstrate that tiny-scale agriculture works. Living with her husband on a mere two-thirds of an acre in Jericho Corners, feeding a flock of sheep required some creativity and community support. It started with one neighbor whose lawnmower broke down. Chris’s sheep and some portable fencing solved two problems. Later, other neighbors wanted their meadows mown as well, resulting in a total of nearly 40 acres of grazing land for her sheep, who, by their presence on the land, improve the health of the pasture, sequester carbon into the soil, and provide entertainment and enjoyment for the landowners.
Chris shears her sheep by hand, processes about half of the wool herself, spins, knits, and creates felted art and clothing.