It began with our new home and a vision to create the perfect place for our family to live, to love, to learn and to grow. A space where everyone would feel loved, welcome, accepted and safe. Moving here, into the woods and an agricultural community began our journey. The quiet contemplation and time with nature, life and the animals have been our greatest teachers. First, the guineas arrived and shortly after, came the chickens. Our first attempts at self-sufficiency and a little agriculture. The goats came next while we prepared for our big dream of alpacas. While the animals were making their way into our lives we were spending time homeschooling our girls, educating and unschooling ourselves and making new and lost connections. We were deeply immersed in natural health, foods, conservation, spirituality and self-sufficiency. We learned about raising animals, organic food, life energy, biodynamics, permaculture, sustainable energy and our Earth. Our dream of raising alpacas came true and we fell in love with them, "farm life", the Earth and all the life it supports. We have always loved animals and understood that they, just like us, feel, think and have emotions and desires. So when we became involved in our small way in animal agriculture and we proceeded into the world of raising animals things began to feel very uncomfortable. Being part of animal agriculture, what we were taught about raising animals and things that were usual and/or necessary often didn't feel right. We always question everything, especially ourselves. So if something doesn't feel right we look more closely and if we find a better way, we change our perspective. We began to look very deeply into modern agriculture, our food and our culture and see the truth of what is happening in our world. We were completely devastated by what we found about how farm animals are often treated in order to produce food for humans and how our Earth is ravaged and destroyed. The pictures of happy farm animals on beautiful grassy pastures and luscious fields and orchards is so far from the truth of the mistreatment, sadness, environmental devastation and health crisis that is reality. Especially in industrial animal agriculture where these beautiful, feeling beings are seen as merely production commodities and treated as machines and the connections to human suffering became very obvious. Everything fell apart and my heart and soul were literally shattered. The world (and humanity) began to look like a hopeless, horrifying place. I felt completely helpless. I worried for the animals, our Earth and about a future for our children. I searched and searched for the answer to what we could do to make a difference. Through a broken heart and countless hours of educating our minds and hearts, we have come to understand the inter-connectedness of life and our place in it and reawaken the sensitivity and compassion that is inherent in our hearts. We each as individuals have a unique gift to share with the world and the change has to come from each one of us. We have and continue to make changes in our family and our lives, continue to educate ourselves and as we know better, do better. It has become our passion to make a change, to do something, to speak up, be a model of the change we wish to see in the world and to share. We now provide sanctuary to the animals who live here, continue to strive toward self sufficiency through growing our own food and renewable energy, choose to eat a whole foods/plant based diet and live with respect and reverence for our Earth and all life. The Earth and the animals are here with us, not for us. We wish to share this message with those who visit and plant the seed of compassion and kindness. The changes we can make are beautiful, meaningful and simple. We can love our way through it and we can change the world, one life, one individual at a time.