Greater Athens September 2020 - Page 7

Country Good & Able Farmstead raises heritage breeds Story and photos by Shelli Parker At Good & Able Farmstead, barns and sheep scatter the countryside with the sounds of turkeys gobbling in the background. The setting is serene and the sounds are peaceful. Many people today do not raise their own food, much less food for others, but the Howards have become one of the providers of premiere locally-grown pork and heritage breed turkeys. Carl and Heather Howard married 19 years ago. Heather was raised by a father who was a civilian employee for the military and the family traveled a lot. Carl became a military man who had grown up with some farming in his family and worked at a hydroponic nursery. Heather’s grandfather was a dairy farmer. “We have a little of it in our blood,” she said. When Carl got out of the military, it was time for a new adventure. The family moved to the Austin area where their interest for homesteading grew along with their boys. They wanted them to grow up in the country. “We couldn’t find land there that met our needs there and since Carl works in the Information Technology field, we could move wherever and this is where we landed,” she said. “It has grown more than we planned or expected, but we enjoy it.” They started with a garden and backyard chickens, which is the point of no return according to Heather. “Chickens are known as the gateway animal into homesteading,” Heather said. “Once you add backyard chickens it kind of becomes an addiction.” They took the leap, moving to Athens in 2017. Good & Able explains the term “farmstead” on its website: “Why ‘farmstead?’ because people picture a ‘farm’ as a commercial farm. That’s not us. We consider ourselves bigger than a homestead, although that term would be closer to describing us in most people’s minds. Sustainability and diversity, an attempt to move closer to how God created things to be, that’s what we’re about.” Its website also gives insight into how addictive and fun September 2020 | Greater Athens Magazine 7