Tall, sun-dried grass
sweeps the broad borders of the old, abandoned barn, weaves in and out
of the wooden stables and encircles the surface of a moss-topped pond.
livestock or domestic friends inhabit the space yet, which is a change
of pace from Lamb’s beloved and fast-paced Early Bird Acres in Hobart,
noticeable wildlife taking refuge among the dense trees were the birds
and bees, and a symphony of end-of-summer cicadas buzzed loudly on this
Samantha Lamb, in her magenta cotton dress and worn-toe cowboy
sat Indian-style in the scene of her brand-new outdoor space,
envisioning its possibilities. This is her canvas. This is her farm.
The art of farming
a young girl, Lamb dreamed of becoming a farmer, and now, at 28, she
has worked almost six years in the agriculture industry, operating her
own local, sustainable farm.
began her agricultural adventure in 2008, revamping her
great-grandparents’ farm, Early Bird Acres. Lamb faced some reservations
about her post-college lifestyle, but she knew that her complete “love
of the land” and its animals validated her decision.
“There’s no way you
can be a farmer and not be enamored with nature,” Lamb said. “Being able
to witness the growth of seeds, the growth of animals, the comings and
goings of animals and the peace that they provide — that in itself,
combined with my artwork, set me in a life of agriculture.”
Lamb quickly spread the word about her endeavors through her artwork, which is pastoral-based photography, she said.
Lamb said an inseparable relationship between her visual creativity and agricultural passions makes
her new farm, called The Farm & Fiddle, easily embraced by the
Norman community. The fiddle accounts for her boyfriend, Daniel Foulks,
who plays the instrument with Norman’s bluegrass beloved Parker Millsap.
“People were actually kind of astonished that I moved away from Hobart,” Lamb said.
Lamb, however, did not leave her home-sweet-Hobart and farm dog, Harold, without some bigger plans for the bigger city.
represents a budding niche of farmers that has the liberty to operate
local, sustainable farms in a time of mass production, GMOs (genetically
modified organisms) and inescapable debt faced by large-scale farmers.
And she’s plowing through these contemporary struggles by returning to
the basic practices of “holistic farming.”
a whole generation, even up to two generations that [think] holistic
farming is irrelevant,” Lamb said. “I’m just trying to tell people that
you don’t have to be a large scale of farming to survive; they’ve just
made it [seem] that way.”
farming” is a term used to identify a type of farm free of pesticides
and mass-produced crops or herds of animals. It’s an environment
that fosters individuality and equality between animals and humans, and
the approach aims to find roots in a truer, more natural ecosystem.
To farm or not to farm?
Lamb said she has experienced opposition not only for being a woman in the industry but also for the centuries-old practices she uses to operate her smallscale farm.
there are farmers in Hobart who haven’t eaten a single thing they’ve
raised is kind of scary,” Lamb said. “There’s many different ways to
farm, but you have to do it your own way.”
Lamb’s farm, the animals work together to fertilize the land, eat
insects and aerate the ground. It’s not just the animals who contribute.
The members of the community collaborate and support Lamb’s
agricultural pursuits, as well.
A bushel and a peck
formal title for Lamb’s creative and community-driven farm life is
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a cooperative partnership where
members each have a $100 (vegetarian)-$120 share in Lamb’s farm, and in
turn, she provides the shareholders meat, dairy, seasonal vegetables and
honey that she produces each week.
was hungry for a CSA,” Lamb said. “We’ve gone down a path for way too
long with the way we eat, the way we curate our own lives.”
made CSA membership available on The Farm & Fiddle website, not
knowing what to expect. The sign-up filled in one and a half hours,
forcing her to cap the wait list at 150 people.
Farm & Fiddle CSA has accepted 10 test members, and in October,
Lamb will open up five more spots. If she employs interns or a full-time
farm assistant, she plans to grow her membership to meet as much demand
A typical CSA share serves two peoples’ CSA-recommended diet each week, Lamb said.
Beans, leaves, grounds
of those people include Daniel and Amyie Kao, owners of Mariposa Coffee
Roastery, 1120 Garver St. in Norman. They were the first to express
interest in Lamb’s CSA, back when she was still at Early Bird Acres.
“We both don’t compromise on the quality of our craft,” Amyie Kao said.
Kaos reconnected with Lamb as she was transitioning to Norman through
her art show at The Social Club, a hair salon and gift shop on Main
Street in Norman.
CSA collaborators, the Kaos give Lamb one pound of coffee every month
for each individual or family who invests with Lamb in exchange for her
locally grown meat, dairy and produce.
individuals like her, there would be a disconnect in how we receive our
food,” Daniel Kao said. “It’s just a stark reality that it’s important
that the local market is supported and is protected in Norman.”
Amyie Kao, an adjunct nutrition professor at Oklahoma City Community
College, said Lamb is able to connect with the younger, academic
culture in Norman that may not understand the implications of the word
“local” but who have a strong curiosity.
think she’s able to offer a piece of what a genuine local farmer looks
like,” Amyie Kao said. “I think she’s very important to the city and a
very progressive piece towards the local foods movement.”
was the Oklahoma representative for the National Young Farmers
Coalition (NYFC) for a year and a half. Though her involvement has
slightly regressed because of the move, she can be found in the field,
in the garden or on thefarmandfiddle.com, curating her next photography
show or her next batch of crops.
matter how hard it is, no matter the fact that I’m never going to be a
rich person, I get to eat really amazing food. I get to live a really
wholehearted life. I work very hard every day. There [are] some days I’m
too tired to take off my clothes before I go to bed. There [are] some
days I’m too tired to eat, but I love it. It’s a good tired. It’s