Wendy Johnson and Johnny Rafkin own Jóia Food Farm near Charles City in northeast Iowa,…
Mark Florenz and his family are bringing an old New Hampshire farm—rich with agricultural heritage—back to life by producing the highest quality Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pork. Archway Farm pork products are sold direct from the farm and wholesale to markets, restaurants and food establishments in the region.
How did you get into farming?
Although I’ve been involved in farming most of my life, when our two boys were young we decided to have one of us stay home and not work. As the boys have gotten older, however, what was a homestead operation evolved into a full-time commercial farm. We now operate a farrow-to-finish hog farm with around 100 mixed heritage breed pigs throughout the year on around 15 acres of pasture and woods. We met AGW’s Katie Amos at the 2017 New England Meat Conference and felt there was a very close fit with our philosophy, and AGW would help us better market our products.
Describe a typical day
We always have twice daily chores. In between that, we might be juggling kids, going to the butcher, delivering pork, updating social media, tracking finances, fixing fence or working on larger farm infrastructure projects.
Who are your customers?
We sell direct through our farm store as well as wholesale to local restaurants, grocery stores and specialty markets.
Sustainable farming principles: why do they matter?
The modern food industry places so little value on the contribution of farmers. Without some larger purpose and guiding principles it’s easy to get sucked into a ‘bigger-is-better’ race to the bottom.
What’s the benefit of being certified by AGW?
AGW is a quick and easy way for us to demonstrate our commitment to animal welfare and the environment.
What are your business plans for the future?
We will continue to explore ways to connect directly with more customers, especially through partnerships with other producers, butchers and retailers.
What is the biggest threat to the sustainable farming movement?
To become more than a niche market and truly make an impact, the sustainable farming movement needs more farms producing and marketing at a larger scale. With scale, however, comes the risk that the fundamental purpose behind the movement will get co-opted the same way certified organic has been.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the variety of what I do, as well as the connection it gives me to my community.
If I was President I would …
take climate change seriously.