A Small Diverse Family Farm
Henry’s Farm is a sustainable, multi-generational, small-scale, labor-intensive farming operation in Central Illinois. It is hidden deep in the rolling hills and fertile bottom land of the Mackinaw River Valley, where periodic flooding over thousands of years left deposits of nutrient-rich silt, creating black topsoil so deep we have never seen the bottom of it.
This is not just a farm owned by a family, but worked by a family – three generations of the Brockman family – from Henry’s parents, to his wife Hiroko and their three children, to assorted brothers and sisters and cousins and nieces. In addition, we have wonderful farmhands and apprentices.
Our specialty is diversity, with 688 different items in our 2012 seed order, all of which are chosen based on factors other than uniformity, transportability and pesticide resistance (as we don’t use pesticides). Instead, we choose what vegetables to plant based on taste and nutrient value -- and of course on practical considerations such as suitability to our soil and climate.
Though we somewhat wistfully look back at the pre-World War II era of farming because it was diverse and organic, we also are thankful for recent advances in weather forecasting, and farming knowledge and methods that allow us to be more efficient and productive without using synthetic chemicals of any sort. We are also grateful for consumers’ growing demand for delicious foods from local farmers.
Map by Hiroko K. Brockman