Over the hills and (not so) far away, tucked among the forests sits the Little Farm at Weldon Springs. Woven into the base of a wooded hillside, this Little Farm is vibrant with honking geese, squawking chickens, bright green fields spotted with wild violets, and perennial food plots with mulched paths and permanent vegetable beds. Farmer Anna Morrell cheerfully meets me at the junction of two old outbuildings that act almost like a gateway into the farm. Anna is followed by a small family of loudly protesting geese who are less than pleased with me for disturbing a small family outing — gander, geese, and goslings out happily following their favorite person.
Anna and her geese are just one part of the many interwoven threads building something new for this Little Farm at Weldon Springs.
Prior to Anna and her husband and farming partner Chris Dunn-Rankin taking over, the property at Little Farm had seen an eclectic life under the hands of an artist and, before that, a family who built the home on the property where Anna and Chris now live. Threading further back, the property once hosted an apple orchard, Victorian farmhouse, and even a community granary (a building once used to store grain). The impact of these past lives on the farm lives on in the odd ancient apple tree, old barn, and beautiful morton building (a type of metal pole barn or large outbuilding) set up with the remnants of art studios. As Anna shows me around the property, sharing its past comes as smoothly to her as its present and planned future.
Anna and Chris share a background in education. When he’s not planning their many adventures in new perennial vegetables and fruits, you can find Chris at his off-farm job as a junior high teacher. Long before they settled into Weldon Springs, they dreamed together of a space where they could host events and share the joy they have for growing everything from fava beans to goslings. Like a lot of things at their Little Farm, Anna and Chris didn’t sit and wait for their plans to just happen. They started growing — no matter how small the available space — and wove each new skill, lesson learned, and resource gained together to create their Little Farm.
Part of the beauty woven throughout the Little Farm at Weldon Springs is the openness with which Anna and Chris follow where their dreams grow, discovering and weaving new ideas into the farm as they go. Originally, the plan had been a farm event space. When they saw the property in the hills of Weldon Springs, the plan shifted. They added market farming, bringing the farm to people to create the connections that might later bring people to the farm. Now staples of multiple local farmers markets, those connections with their community have grown into successful farm events and the discovery of new farm offerings like “chicken art.” Anna and Chris hope this year to add an orchard, each tree sponsored by a community member, further weaving the community into the fabric of the farm’s future.
For the Little Farm at Weldon Springs, weaving the past, present and future together has created a beautiful farm and connected it firmly with their community.