Mary Rohlfing, Morning Owl Farm
“Food is a symptom of our culture. The way that we grow and eat food tells us everything about who we are. Everything. And what I want to see is a healthy, happy, joyful food culture. The beauty of Idaho as a place to grow is we have this amazing growing season. We have people from different places who bring with them ideas and openness. So I think the opportunities in Idaho are fantastic to really have a full blown local food system. Full blown.“
In 2004, Rohlfing left a career as a tenured professor at Boise State University to transform eight neglected acres outside her home. With patience, she is nursing the soil back to a healthy state. Her willingness to experiment led to a delicious discovery that has since become her signature product: duck eggs.
“I had to learn about what kind of animals would make sense for where we are and I hit upon ducks. A lot of the literature I read talked about how good they are at eating pests and that they eat certain weeds and so I thought well, that is cool because I don’t have to then buy pesticides and herbicides to kill the weeds. The ducks will help me do that. We found as we were raising them though that they produce these amazing beautiful eggs. We decided to expand our flock.”
Rohlfing, one of the leaders of the Treasure Valley Food Coalition, is gravely concerned about the sustainability of the current food system.
“We’re basing that system entirely on fossil fuels which we know the availability is decreasing. If we’re basing that system on severing the ties between the farmer and the people who eat that food then I think we’re losing an important connection to our actual culture and our humanity in a lot of ways.”