From the mountains to the plains and from dream to reality.
Our farm is a result of us wanting something different from our lives: a chance to combine our strengths and passions together.
We are the Bennetts: Cliff, Lindsey, and our daughter Mabel.
We were feeling often as if we were just working to live and pay the bills with jobs we were content in but perhaps not fully passionate about. Additionally, we missed spending time as a family! We realized we worked all week to get to the weekend to spend time together in our garden growing food, in the kitchen cooking together, and hosting our friends to share in our bounty.
Just like that, we had sown the idea of trading in our comfortable life in Colorado for farm life in Missouri. As they do, this idea grew quickly. When this property appeared, I knew we had to look. And after a series of signs from the universe, we knew it was all aligning for us to buy this farm.
We truly can't imagine a more important job than growing food to nourish our community in a way that contributes to a better earth.
Bene Terre translates from Italian roughly to "good earth". To us good earth farming encompasses the microcosm of regenerating the earth beneath our feet, to the macrocosm of the well-being of the planet by reducing our carbon footprint all through our farming practices. We are doing this through biodynamic techniques that view the farm as it's own self-sustaining ecosystem.
In short, we made the conscious decision to leave the familiar, take a risk, and pursue our dream. We are loving every minute, even when those minutes involve a hoop house blowing away, or our tomato seedlings dying. We are learning constantly and we are doing it together. We are dedicating our days and lives to work we are passionate about. We know that our actions are having a direct impact on the health of the world around us and nothing could be more satisfying and gratifying.
About Bene Terre Farm
Our farm is located in eastern Jackson County, MO. It's on the eastern slope of Monkey Mountain nature reserve. The farm is just over 15 acres with a spring-fed pond, lovely sloping fields, and countless nut trees. The main home on the property was built in 1918. Most of the outbuildings were built just after the house, so far as we can tell. We found "1922" carved in to the beams of the ceiling joists.
When we lived on the Colorado front range, we saw countless historic farms torn down and sold to become subdivisions. We understand this is the world we live in today and we are grateful that space can become comfortable homes for so many people. But it still broke our hearts to see these historic places gone. We dreamed of buying one and restoring it to its former glory, at the time we just didn't realize we'd do it here in Missouri!
We have learned since moving here that the original farm focused primarily on laying hens for egg production and dairy cows for milk. We had the pleasure of meeting the grand daughter of the original farm owners at our farm stand's open house. She brought a picture of the farm when it was fully functioning as the farm it was designed to be. She also walked around with us to inform us of all the original purposes of our outbuildings. We also learned that the farm originally extended for an additional ninety acres North!
Another big appeal to our farm is the access to Monkey Mountain. Since the nature reserve is up hill from us, we never have to worry about chemical run-off. Additionally, there are ecologically balanced riparian, grassland, and woodland ecosystems adjacent.
More About Cliff
Cliff is a Colorado native. A deep mining background and history and connection to the mountains and nature. His mother's family came from Poland during the second world war. Cliff grew up in Ward, Colorado, a tiny, some might say strange town, at the western most border of Boulder County at 9200 ft in elevation. He went to an elementary school that took him skiing every Friday in place of school!
This led him right into a full ski career. He went from ski racing in high school at the Vail Ski Academy, to skier cross soon after high school. Eventually this led him to his true ski passion, Big Mountain free skiing. He skied professionally in the Freeskiing World Tour for 8 season and even ranked 2nd in the world in 2009. It is very fair to say skiing is his first true love.
For 10 years he would spend his winters in Snowbird, UT working, skiing, traveling, and competing and his summers in Ward doing forestry work on private property with a grant from the government for fire mitigation. Through all of this he enjoyed and grew a love and appreciation for nature.
When he met Lindsey, they bought a camper and she traveled with him on the ski tour for a couple of years of competition.
Then, it was time to find some jobs and settle a little. This brought him to coaching. Before the move to Missouri, he was the head coach of the Big Mountain Ski Team at Winter Park. For the last 8 years he spent his winters traveling, skiing, and imparting all his ski knowledge. Additionally he worked as an arborist in the city we lived and was expanding this career.
It was a big move to leave the mountains. We hope to spent some of our winters chasing the powder in the US and skiing just for pleasure as a family.
More About Lindsey
Lindsey grew up here in Missouri. She went to Lee's Summit North High School and almost all of her family lives here. However, she was determined to go out of state to college and one visit to CU Boulder was all it took. Once she discovered her love for Environmental Sciences in late high school, she knew this was the place and the program for her.
At CU, she graduated with a major in Environmental Studies, with an emphasis in policy, and a minor in Geology. It was here that she fell in love with not only preserving our natural spaces through policy but enjoying them daily. She began to hike daily, delve deep into healthful eating, and incorporate environmental ethics and consciousness into all she did. It became apparent at this time that our food system and food choices as consumers are hugely impactful.
She met Cliff when she was a junior at CU. They met on the dance floor at reggae night, at a bar called the Draft House. Life was never the same. She graduated a little early in December 2010 and traveled with Cliff for a couple years while applying for jobs. She was mainly looking in the environmental non-profit sector. However, after an internship at the State Capitol in Denver and some more exploration in these careers, it was becoming clear that this wasn't the intended path.
That's when she decided to combine her love of kids and love of science to get a post graduate licensure in Secondary Science Teaching from Regis University. Though she planned to teach at the high school level, life brought her to middle school and she loved it.
She spent the last 6.5 years teaching middle school science. She worked at a school that had a student-teacher progression and got to teach all the science disciplines over the three years of middle school to the same group of students. It was the ideal science teaching job. Additionally, she helped in a program called Plains to the Park. In this program, the students had a research permit to perform data collection from Rocky Mountain National Park with game camera footage. It was a joy to participate in citizen science research with students.
This move and lifestyle shift feel very full circle. Back to Missouri in a life that has a direct impact on the stewardship and healing of the environment and sharing this with the world and community.