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What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This is Juliet’s beautiful argument to Romeo that names don’t matter. They don’t define the thing being named. What matters is what something is.

True. And yet, we think the name of our farm, New Leaf Pastures, says a lot about who we are and what we do.

The idea of turning over a new leaf generally means to make a fresh start or to alter one’s course. That’s sort of what we did when we decided to build a regenerative farm in our fifties with no prior experience in agriculture. Most people said we were crazy. We like to joke that that’s how we knew we were on the right track.

We were not looking for the traditional retirement scenario. Instead, we took the phrase out to pasture literally. We pictured spending our days in verdant meadows among animals grazing peacefully, trees bearing nuts and fruit, and gardens bursting with vegetables and flowers. Still busy, but slower. Still building, but for future generations. That sounded like a perfect way to spend the next chapter of our life. We can now confirm that it is.

Our gardens, orchards and pastures sprout new leaves every spring, increasing their resilience with each renewal, reminding us that seasons are necessary for growth. This regeneration occurs without turning the soil or spraying chemicals, showing us that natural cycles and biodiversity lead to balance and long term health.

Our rotational grazing system ensures that a fresh salad bar is always available to the animals. They take one small bite from the top and then move on to a new leaf, leaving behind a larger solar panel to enhance recovery while feeding and protecting the soil.

Our global food systems are in need of turning over a new leaf to satisfy the demand for healthy food and carbon capture. It is becoming clear that these goals cannot be achieved without a shift to regenerative agriculture, and this transition relies on growing the number of small farms committed to nurturing healthy soil and building community. We hope to play a small role in this effort.

Would New Leaf Pastures be a different type of farm if it had a different name? Certainly not. But our name is a lasting reminder of what we do, and why.

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