In 2006, Janet Allen and her husband Mark Gillen were led to purchase a lovely piece of fertile farmland near where Janet was born. They named the farm Hygieia Homestead in honor of the Greek goddess of health who taught that people would not need medical attention if they lived according to the laws of nature.
Their 55-acres in the heart of rural Michigan became certified organic in 2012, producing hundreds of pounds of spicy garlic and lots of other vegan delicacies to go with it—including tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage. Janet and Mark have worked hard over the years, and the land has given abundantly.
Much of the food that makes up Janet and Mark’s own personal raw vegan diet is grown right at Hygieia Homestead and is dried or fermented and stored in the root cellar for winter use. In the photos you can see the hill over the root cellar and the drying loft above the current living quarters. Most of the farm is cultivated in beds with sod walkways between, so the beds are never walked or driven on. Mark has built equipment to go over the beds, which are then mulched using hay also grown on their own land. Three orchards have been lovingly tended for six years and will begin producing soon, as will lots of perennial shrubs, vines, flowers, and plants.
The time has come for Janet and Mark to expand Hygieia Homestead into more than just an organic farm where produce is harvested. They are ready to establish a ‘raw community,’ including co-operative ownership of the farm and are advertising for members who want to participate in such a venture. The “founders” will serve as advisors, helpers, and ‘elders’ for the community, traveling to teach when they are called upon to do so.
Plans are being made for a large earth-sheltered home with a masonry fireplace, another root cellar, and a large greenhouse for community living. Currently at Hygieia Homestead along with its human owners are two hives of bees, two cats, and an outdoor dog named Sophia.
Excerpts from Spiritual Effects of Live Food:
“On our farm (Hygieia Homestead) we usually eat a very simple diet, adjusted for the season and who is present for the meal. Meals are often prepared together.”
“Ordinarily for breakfast a green smoothie is quick, delicious, can be made ahead, and at the time of day when energy is needed, it provides plenty of carbohydrates (and protein).”
“Even on regular days, we almost always have a delicious dessert. Gooey cakes, chocolate brownies, many kinds of pudding, ice cream, pies, cookies, and shakes. In fact chocolate shakes appear almost every evening.”