Copy of Franklin farm

Greetings from southern Vermont!

I visited a farm as part of a conference on food cooperatives called Disrupting the Future which is pretty funny – why would an eighth generation, organic dairy and maple syrup farm be an agent of disruption?!

Well, you know why.

I didn’t want to think about the big picture, however. The day was too gorgeous. Actually, the farm is on its ninth generation – 26-year old John Franklin, the soft-spoken son of soft-spoken David and Mary Ellen, led the tour. The farm converted to organic in 2004 and it’s made all the difference to the Franklins. The farm is profitable, sustainable, regenerative and a great place to raise kids. There was laughter and smiles all around. Sounds like they’re disrupting the system to me!

After visiting the pigs and the solar panels, we headed into a grassy field, which is where I heard the heavy breathing.  

As we stood in a pasture strewn with buttercups listening to Mary Ellen explain the family’s progressive grazing strategy, a group of Holstein girls snuck up behind us. I stood in the back, as I usually do, and soon I heard their breathing. Turning, I saw the girls standing in a row watching us as if saying “Howdy strangers, what brings you here?” I reached out a hand and a friendly one stretched her neck way out to meet it. I scratched her head. Satisfied, we both relaxed in the breeze, under the blue sky. We contemplated each other as if we stood in a sacred, green temple. Which we were.

It was one of those little timeless moments in life when everything stops and is never the same again.

I hope all is well where you are.

Photo © Courtney White /