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Building a Sustainable Farm: Mike Vestergaard

What does a sustainable farm look like? Mike Vestergaard talks about running a sustainable farm and the ways he is able to educate the public.
Hi, I’m Mike. Michael Vestergaard. About 12 years ago we bought this farm where we are trying to produce grass-fed beef and pasture raised pork and chickens. This is a lifelong dream of mine, to be able to start a farm up and produce a product that is sustainable. But also is produced with the animals in mind, that the animals are raised in a fashion that they are healthy, and that they are in their natural environment. We are looking to produce a product that is a healthy food for the public. I came to America in 1992 from Denmark, I was raised on a dairy farm where my thought was I was going to start a dairy farm over here in America.
It wasn’t financially possible, got into the construction business, but always had the dream of wanting to start my own farm. This property came available about 12 years ago, and we bought it. I realized that in order for me to financially be sustainable farm, I would have to retail my products straight to the public. We started up building this farm about a year and a half ago, right before the pandemic hit, December 2nd, 2019, we opened up the retail facility here.
Not only would I want to start my retail and be financially sustainable, I also, I’m looking to educate the public on how the food is raised, whether it’s beef or vegetables or any other food that is produced here on the farm. We invite the public to come here to the farm to go for a walk through the farm and see the animals. About a year ago, I got introduced to Willow Run Acres. TC is the one that is heading off this program there, where we also will be teaching the public about vegetables and the sustainability of how to grow there. We’re really excited to get this program off.
Try to educate the public to bring the awareness on not only the animal’s welfare, but it’s also about the environment, how we treat the environment. We do not use any pesticides, we do not use any fertilizer, chemicals, any hormones. This is a natural product, as natural as it gets. Why sustainability is so important is, the awareness of what we eat and how it’s raised. Whether we use chemicals or hormones in animals or antibiotics to control the production, that case, into the food chain. I am a strong believer in producing our food as natural as we can. It does mean that the product becomes more expensive, but it becomes a safer product for the public to eat and consume.
That is a very important part of our life here. Why is sustainability so important? It is important in the person that eats it, but it’s also important as a society. We do not apply any fertilizers, any chemicals to our soil. We let the microorganism take care of it. We let the plants supply the nutrients to the ground that our grasses and our vegetables need. Therefore, we can keep our waters clean, we can live here in this environment, more responsible as a society. Then the awareness of that where I believe that if I can produce a product that is produced with no chemicals and no hormones, and no antibiotic, it is a safer product for the public to consume.
But also the awareness of what it does to the environment that we live in. The fertilizers that washes out into our waters, and the pollution of the environment is a very important factor. We also want to teach people not only about the sustainability, but also teach the public about what it takes to raise beef, and what it takes to raise pork and chicken and what they eat. So people can understand why it is so important to be aware of what we eat, and how it’s raise

In this segment, Mike Vestergaard describes the process and challenges of running a sustainable farm. Mike talks about the ways that he is able to teach the public about sustainable farming.

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Sustainable Food Teach-Out

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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