The first time I met Alexis and Erik Koefoed (& their amazing children) I felt like I had known them for years. They welcomed us onto their farm like we were family. The minute you arrive you know you are on a chicken farm, not because of razor-wire fences or an overwhelming ammonia stench. Soul Food Farm is nothing like the big farms that fill grocers with millions of chlorine-soaked chickens and bland eggs. On the contrary, the Koefoed's birds are roaming around outside and only go in their coops when they feel so inspired. On just over 50 acres of land in a green valley just beyond the soul-sucking sprawl of Solano County, Alexis and Erik are running themselves skinny to become the preeminent supplier of pasture-raised poultry for the Bay Area of California. They are like the Little Engine That Could of chicken farming. Not only did they endure after a devastating fire, then a flood shortly after, they now have a weakened economy and increasing competition to contend with. Competition is now coming from several outfits that are better capitalized or simply bending the truth about how their birds are raised. Soul Food Farm, on the other hand, is open to the public just about everyday so you can see for yourself the honesty with which they raise their animals.
Listen to our 45 minute conversation to hear how Alexis got started in farming, some of their challenges of being small farmers, and their plans for the future of their farm.
(You need Quicktime to listen to the interview)
Photo above of Alexis Koefoed standing by her mixed flock of new laying hens that should begin churning out yummy eggs any day now, by Rebecca Thistlethwaite, January 2011. Please ask permission if you would like to use.