The Red Gate Farm Family

We are a family of 8--Sean, Danielle, and our 6 children. We have a passion for Christ, believe children are a blessing from God, and are thankful God has made us a family. Our children have joined us through both biological birth and domestic adoption. 

Many folks who knew us a decade ago think we lost our minds somewhere along this journey called life. Back then, we were the “normal,” average American family. We ate at McDonalds, watched too much television, and grocery shopped for processed foods several times a week. Then God put us on a path that we could have never imagined. After the birth of our first child, we were faced with a series of health issues that doctors couldn't explain. This led us deeper into the Bible, in search of better health and God’s plan for our lives. That started us in the direction of an organic lifestyle -- and by that, I don’t mean “USDA Certified Organic.” Rather, I mean the natural, organic, pure way of doing things in a way that God originally intended (as best we can interpret His Word, at least!). Within a year, we threw out the television and began learning about our health and stewardship of the land. 

We were able to combine my past experience as a vet tech and horse trainer, my degree in farm business management, and many years of animal experience, and Sean’s business and engineering background, with the amazing amount of information we had gathered regarding natural, chemical-free and drug-free farming. This allowed us to have a good start with our little farm. We realized that the only way to truly know what we were eating, was to actually raise it ourselves! Over the years, we have mutated into a farm family, seeking to be God-sufficient (as opposed to self-sufficient), such that we and our children can see and appreciate His blessings on a daily basis.

The Farm

Red Gate Farm got its start in central IL, with our dream of a sustainable little homestead. We have raised most of our family's meat and produce for over a decade. Rather than a tractor, we utilize the power of draft horses to move heavy loads around our farm, selectively log our woodlands, and even run short errands to town by horse-drawn wagon. When time permits, we also hire out our horse-drawn vehicles and services. Our products and services resulted in our little farm growing to provide a wide variety of clinics and tours. Eventually, we simply outgrew the space we had.

In 2021, we decided to expand, sold out, and relocated to 50 acres in southern IL. While the new farm is largely based on all the knowledge and experience we gained at our previous farm, we are re-focusing on the design and purpose of this new farm. Our home is a passive-solar, off-grid design, allowing us to be completely independent from the utility grid. We have designed a rain-collection system for household use, compost systems for soil fertility, a fruit and berry orchard, and we are establishing a new salad, herb, and vegetable garden. We dug a large pond, which will soon be stocked with fish, adding an additional food source to the farm. We only brought a handful of livestock with us until we get established here, but soon enough, we will be back to maintaining a variety of livestock to compliment foraging habits, meaning grasses, weeds, and forbs are grazed more evenly. Our horses will live in a "Paddock Paradise" track that meanders through our back acreage, providing a variety of activities, terrains, and natural systems to simulate the movement and environment of wild horse herds and help our horses thrive. Our poultry free-range and enjoy fresh pasture almost every day to help build topsoil, and they are rotated regularly to ensure our animals always have clean, fresh, uncontaminated forage and lounging areas. The poultry also help scatter manure piles, reduce parasite and fly populations, and in return, we are blessed with a plentiful supply of meat and the most wholesome, nutrient-rich eggs nature can provide. Just as we did in the past, we will use pigs to dig up invasive honeysuckle in the woods, and to massage the humus-rich top layers of our forests, so we repair and rebuild our beautiful woodlands similar to the way they were hundreds of years ago.  We've even taken the local wildlife into consideration. In order to live in harmony with the wildlife, we utilize a small pack of livestock guardian dogs as poultry, livestock, and crop guardians. This keeps the predators and pests outside of our fences, which means we don't usually have to take extreme measures to get rid of them. Even in the barn, we don't use chemicals for smaller pests. We just have friendly barn cats to patrol our feed storage areas. We selectively log and flash-graze livestock in our woodlands to open up the underbrush and control invasive species, allow more sunlight through, and improve wildlife habitat.

Although we are currently staying very busy with the construction of our new home and farm facilities, we are very excited about getting our new farm up and running! Be sure to check in regularly for new updates!

The Business

Within a short time of beginning our farming ventures and raising our family's food, many of our friends and neighbors were expressing interest in purchasing products from us, as well as learning more about what we were doing. Over the next few years, the business evolved, and has continued to expand and morph ever since. We believe very firmly that the best food available is food that is raised without pharmecuticals, on nutrient-rich, chemical-free land, cared for by the family that will evenutally consume that food. As a result, we keep our farm small enough that we can dedicate the required attention and care to each aspect of our farm. We have no employees. The farm is run by our immediate family, as well as the occasional intern, WWOOFer, or volunteer.

In 2019, we restructured and reduced our food business in order to focus more on our growing children and the educational aspects of our farm. Our new farm is being designed with an educational focus in mind, so we can offer an even better selection of school field trips, homesteading clinics, self-sufficiency classes, horse training and driving clinics, TIP mustang adoptions, and more! We love building relationships with our customers and community. We are so excited to be able to introduce even more people to the idea of stewarding the land with management, symbiotic relationships, and farming in a way that honors God's amazing design through our husbandry methods.

Would you like to stay updated regarding our construction process and educational offerings? Be sure to Like our Facebook page to stay in the loop!