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Naked Acres Farm was established in 2012 on a small 3.5-acre farm in southeast Portland by two women who had a dream to farm. Augustus and Margo Liszka had years of experience growing on a very small scale, in addition to Augustus’s childhood in central Oregon’s ranching country and two decades of veterinary experience.
The small farm gave the couple just enough space to develop the business. In their first year, Margo and Augustus spent a lot of time digging garden beds by hand and sold produce and eggs at local farmers’ markets. They spent five years on that small plot, eventually expanding production to supply two farmers’ markets and a 20-share CSA. By 2017, the couple had outgrown the original piece of land and decided to move to a 75-acre farm near Oregon City.
Naked Acres Farm has expanded production to include five Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) dairy goats and a flock of 300 Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens, many of which were hatched on the farm. Margo and Augustus also recently added 24 Katahdin breeding ewes and 15 Dexter cattle, which are now Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range.
Augustus and Margo take their responsibilities as livestock farmers seriously: “Any animal we choose to have on our farm depend on us 100 percent for their health and wellbeing, so their health is paramount to the success of our animal program,” says Augustus. “That’s where 20 years of veterinary experience and a lifetime of raising animals comes in handy. Making sure the animals are happy, healthy and well-cared for is more important than production. Without happy healthy animals, we have nothing.” For example, in order to ensure their goats’ health, Augustus believes it’s important to allow their does to rotate kidding. “If a doe gives birth one year and milks for the season, the next year she is able to rest,” she explains.
Certifying their pasture-raised livestock as Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW gives Margo and Augustus the opportunity to verify to customers that their management practices truly put the animal’s welfare first: “As a small farm, we choose not to certify organic because of the prohibitive cost, but also because the animal welfare standards required under the organic certification are so shallow. We know it is important for many of our customers to see that we meet specific welfare and environmental standards, rather than just taking our word for it,” says Augustus. “In our search for a suitable certification, the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW programs stood out to us as number one in the country, and it parallels everything we were already doing with very minor changes.”
Margo and Augustus hope to make the farm more self-sufficient over time and look forward to a day when Margo won’t have to continue her off-farm landscaping work—and when Augustus’s veterinary work will be confined to the livestock on Naked Acres Farm.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW eggs, handmade goat milk soap and Certified Grassfed by AGW lamb and beef is available from the farm by appointment. Margo and Augustus also sell their soaps, eggs and produce at the Hillsdale and Hollywood farmers’ markets in Portland. To make an appointment to buy Naked Acres’ Farm products, contact Margo and Augustus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 971-227-5670. For up-to-date information about the farm, visit their Facebook page or nakedacrespdx.com.