Building An Efficient And Productive Homestead: Guests Parker and Lauren Holmes

On today’s episode, Rachel interviews Parker and Lauren Holmes of Holmestead Provisions.  Parker and Lauren started out on a different path but an apprenticeship at Polyface Farms changed the trajectory of their homestead and their way of thinking. 

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 215 – August 16, 2023

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Introduction to Parker and Lauren Holmes

The Genesis of Homestead Provisions

From Suburban Life to Homesteading

Lauren shares her transition from city living to embracing homesteading, highlighting the significant lifestyle change. Parker recounts his upbringing in Cadillac, Michigan, where his early experiences with gardening and canning laid the foundation for his future in homesteading.

Pathway to Sustainable Farming

Health Challenges Lead to a New Direction

Parker and Lauren discuss how personal health challenges within their social circle led them to explore the impact of diet and Whole Foods. This sparked their interest in where food comes from, steering them towards sustainable farming practices.

Educational Journey and Polyface Farm Influence

Parker talks about his initial educational pursuit at MSU in agriculture technology and how it conflicted with his growing interest in no-till, organic, and regenerative agriculture. This eventually led him to an apprenticeship at Polyface Farm under Joel Salatin, profoundly shaping their approach to farming.

Homestead Provisions: A Diverse Farming Endeavor

Exploring Various Aspects of Farming

The Holmes detail their homestead activities in Central Michigan. They raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, and sheep on their 50-acre property. They also operate a portable sawmill, offering custom lumber services.

Incorporating Sawmill Services

Parker’s background in logging and experience at Polyface Farm inspired him to include sawmill services in their business. They provide custom lumber milling, including unique offerings like cabin kits.

Learning and Applying Efficient Farming Practices

Embracing Efficiency and Leadership Skills

Parker emphasizes the importance of efficient practices learned at Polyface Farm, such as moving broiler shelters quickly and butchering chickens efficiently. Leadership skills gained during his apprenticeship have also played a crucial role in managing their homestead.

Implementing Grass-Fed Genetics and Pasture Improvement

The Holmes discuss their approach to raising grass-fed animals, focusing on breeds with grass-fed genetics for better adaptation to pasture-based diets. They also share their methods for improving pasture quality, including cover cropping and using compost.

Future Plans and Homesteading Philosophy

Expanding Animal Varieties and Farm Offerings

While they currently focus on specific livestock, the couple is open to adding more animals like dairy cows and beef cattle in the future. They also consider offering a wider range of farm products, including vegetables and fruit.

Emphasizing Learning and Adaptation

The Holmes highlight the importance of learning from failures and adapting to new challenges in homesteading. They encourage aspiring homesteaders to embrace experimentation and work in harmony with nature.