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“Good Life, Good Death, Good Butcher, Good Chef”

Nate and Liz Brownlee sitting in long green grass in a field with white sheep nearby and trees, include a redbud in bloom, in the background with blue skies

In the spring, the sheep at Nightfall Farm graze in a pasture close to the house. Liz and Nate Browlee enjoy having them nearby. (Kayte Young/WFIU)

This week on the show, we visit Nightfall Farm, a livestock farm in Southern Indiana focused on sustainable agriculture.

We talk about perennial pastures, rotational grazing and what famers can learn when they listen to their animals.

Here in Southern Indiana there’s no shortage of farmland. When driving along rural state roads you're bound to pass through acres of land devoted to corn and soybeans. We don’t find those products at our local farmers market, though. Corn and soybeans are grown at an industrial scale, and they’re processed into other products-- some of which feed animals (also raised at an industrial scale) and others find their way into processed foods on the grocery store shelves.

Those acres of corn and soybeans are raised on land that is tilled, year after year, with the same crops planted, and chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are applied to the fields for predictable results.

This week we’re devoting the show to a conversation about another way of farming.

I recently visited Nightfall Farm, near Crothersville Indiana to talk with Liz and Nate Brownlee about their farming practices. We started with a tour of their farm. Liz grew up on the land, and her family had been renting it out for decades to a larger neighboring farm before Liz and Nate took over 8 years ago. Now the 250 acre farm is hosting chickens, sheep, pigs and turkeys raised on pasture and tended to by two humans determined to bring the place back to life, and to support the local food systems in their community.

Hear their story and listen to our nuanced discussion about connecting with the animals they raise and why that matters, the role of sustainably raised meat as we face climate change, and the importance of confronting the true cost of our food. 

small wooden structures with metal roofs and wheels in a field of brown grass  with chickens in the forground, two people behind the structures and a white hoophouse visible in the distance.
These lightweight structures house chickens securely overnight and are easily moved throughout the pasture for rotational grazing. Liz and Nate built them from a design by Justin Rhodes called a ChickShaw. Instead of purchasing corregated plastic for the sides, they repurposed political yard signs. (Kayte Young/WFIU)
view inside a white hoophouse with chickens walking on the ground, some wooden structures, plastic buckets and laying boxes are visible
Some of the laying hens take shelter in semi-permanent high tunnels, and the grazing paddocks rotate around them. (Kayte Young/WFIU)

Music on this Episode

The Earth Eats theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Additional music on this episode from the artists at Universal Production Music.

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