What makes up Red Hill Family Farm? Patience, a growing number of animals and good old-fashioned labor. Oh, and probably a farmer’s tan — on Jennifer Chambers, her husband, Paul, and their children.
The couple have been living in Moore County for the last eight years. Like a growing number of local families, they planned to eventually buy land and create their own homestead.
“In the beginning of 2020 we felt that urgency,” says Jennifer. “We thought, if we’re going to do this, we need to do it now. With all the food shortages, we wanted the security of controlling our own supply.”
Jennifer was developing a passion for self sustainability and farming when she heard about North Carolina Farm School, a program for entrepreneurial farmers by the N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. State University and N.C. A&T University. Jennifer enrolled in the class of 2021 to learn more about providing for her family as well as her community.
The couple has begun with crops, chickens and turkey; Jennifer was recently certified to sell poultry and will begin selling chicken soon.
“I also try to teach my daughters to appreciate where their food comes from. They know where Chick-fil-A comes from,” says Jennifer.
The Chambers have long had an entrepreneurial streak. Before founding their farm, they flipped houses. Jennifer started an instagram account about five years ago with the handle “dreaming of our homestead.” She used it to document the homes they flipped/ lived in and until they transitioned to homesteading. “It started as a creative outlet for me while my husband was deployed,” says Jennifer.
Now, she documents the progress of Red Hill Farm on its own page: RedHillFamilyFarmNc. “I love sharing the farm and what we’re doing. We also want to be very transparent with how we raise our animals and food.”
The most challenging part of the process for Jennifer has been starting from scratch — clearing the land and enriching the soil, while living full-time in RVs. Up until March of this year, they did so without power and ran solely on generators. Yes, they deserve cool points for this.
Part of the passion project is being as self-reliant as possible, right down to running their own sawmill. Using the trees they cleared, they are doing what they can to produce their own lumber to build things like a goat barn and raised garden beds, while taking on custom woodworking projects.
They are currently farming on around two of the 25 acres but plan to slowly expand out. Jennifer is largely learning as she goes but has connected with other homesteaders also sharing their journeys on Instagram.
Jennifer’s advice to other future homesteaders? “Be financially ready for it. There are a lot of expenses you don’t think about,” she says. “The Important thing is to have everything ready for the animals.”