Katy Dickson was 6 months pregnant, finishing grad school in elementary education and teaching on an Indian reservation in New Mexico, when she realized she wanted to move home to Wisconsin and grow organic food. After spending about 12 years living and working across the U.S. and serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal., she ended up on land across the road from the dairy farm where she grew up.
Today, she grows about 7 acres of organic produce and sells the eggs from about 400 pastured chickens at Christensen’s Farm near Browntown, Wisc. Her farm is west of Monroe and about 8 miles north of the Illinois border, and sits high on a hill in the Driftless region. She markets via a CSA and the Janesville and Eastside (Madison) Farmers’ Markets.
Katy substitute teaches in the winters and her husband Mark Dickson teaches physics and environmental science at the local high school. They are raising three children: Skye, 11, Mara, 9 and Milo, 7.
Katy said farming is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Working on the farm is never lonely, and the beauty and bounty of farming satisfies her soul. She encourages her CSA members to come to farm events and stop in for a visit.
“Joining a CSA is such a no brainer,” she says. “You can really get that good feeling knowing you’re supporting a small family farm where the farmers are taking care of the earth and working hard to grow good food.”
This is the final episode of the 2017 season of 5 Minutes on the Farm. Julie Garrett has taken a short-term communications job in disaster relief in Texas.
Your family food dollars are Little Green Soldiers for Good. Spend them directly with your local farmers via CSA or at the Madison farmers’ markets. Check out the Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas for restaurants featuring local food, farm listings, and farmers’ market info across Wisconsin, or Local Harvest for listings nationwide.
5 Minutes on the Farm won a 2016 Excellence in Journalism award from the Milwaukee Press Club.
Photographs by Julie Garrett. Banjo by Cathryn Herlihey. Logo by Katie Hess.