Mary Jane Butters is teaching the next generation of farmerettes and young cultivators how to embrace the land and survive. She runs an 80 acre spread in Moscow, Idaho that provides a line of packaged organic foods that she sells online. On this plot of dirt, she also customizes a non-profit educational program that offers persons with green organic thumbs a chance to be farm apprentices. Under her direction, each apprentice will plant, grow, harvest, market, store and preserve organically grown food. In addition, they repair broken equipment, build fences, mend clothing and even raise a barn. When the course is finished, Mary Jane has taught another farmer wannabee how to live a lifestyle in touch with the land.
A recent graduate of Mary Jane’s organic farming education is Pat Vaughan. After traveling in the Army for twenty-five years, he retired with a longing to be in a natural setting with soil on his hands. Fresh food for his family pushed him to become an apprentice of Mary Jane’s program. “Digging in the dirt is giving me a feeling of roots,” he claims. Vaughan is now an organic subsistence farmer complete with a coop of chickens laying free range organic eggs. His family couldn’t be happier.
Another passion of Mary Jane’s is the historic Old Mill in Oakesdale, Washington. She bought the mill, which was built in 1890, to grind her grain for cereals and flour products. Others use the mill for grinding also. Tours of the mill educate the visitors about how grain is ground as well as the history of the region.
As Mary Jane teaches about the value of country living throughout the United States, she helps families who struggle to make a living on a farm or in rural areas. In contact with myriads of unsung crafters who find it difficult to compete in today’s marketplace, Mary Jane started Project F.A.R.M. (First Class American Rural Made). From areas with less than forty stoplights that span West Virginia to Oregon, Project F.A.R.M. supplies her online store with natural soaps, pillows, holistic honey bee and herbal products, as well as bean soup mixes and more. Pride in craftsmanship, use of quality materials and a commitment to make the product in love give women jobs that increase household earnings from $3,ooo to $6,ooo dollars. Mary Jane believes that life is not about where people live, but how they live.
Author. Editor. Teacher. Mary Jane Butters is an educator who brings people back to a simpler way of life with earthly benefits. Join her online at maryjanesfarm.com.
I wanted to introduce Mary Jane Butters as an example of the country folk across this nation who long for a bright light at the end of a dirt road. Please comment on how you are simplifying your life or making it more sustainable whether you live in a rural or urban area.