Our Ancestors Set the Stage
Over the course of six generations, from the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s to the Farm Crisis of the 1980’s – an “hourglass-making” event on the family farming tree that put many small growers out of business – our family has farmed. Never easy, choosing to work and preserve the land for the next generation, to continue to be part of the 1% of the American workforce who still farms, is a continuation of the generational promise first made by “Old” Don Maule.
Nestled deep in the heart of the Loess Hills along Old Lincoln Highway is our hometown, Missouri Valley, Iowa. Seven miles north, at the fork of a dirt and gravel road, our farmstead is so remote we no longer receive mail.
Isolated, our glacial, wind-blown soil untouched, it’s not hard to imagine the potential “Old” Don Maule saw when he set up shop in 1882, over 120 years ago. Having left the shores of Scotland for new opportunities in America, he was a pioneer. With nothing to start his new life but a farmer’s know-how and his fellow homesteaders’ resolve, he believed life could be better for his family – maybe even more “fruitful” – in America’s Heartland.
With nothing to start his new life but a farmer’s know-how and his fellow homesteaders’ resolve, “Old” Don Maule believed life could be better for his family in America’s Heartland.
Without these core values, our decisions to plant the aronia berry, proven to increase organic matter in the soil, and to start an industry now hundreds of farmers strong, would never have been made.
The crops have changed over the years, but we have always done what was necessary to keep the farm going. Whether it was my grandpa driving taxis in the winter or creating the world’s most extensive value-added organic aronia line, we see our work through a Century View of agriculture: a belief that our ancestors set the stage, just as we will for future farmers.
There’s a Great Law of the Iroquois that states “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impacts of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
Our once endangered aronia berry, now recognized as the highest antioxidant fruit ever tested, isn’t all that’s shared between our family and neighboring native tribes. The importance of the land to our livelihoods and that of our
neighbors ensures this commitment to sustainability exists in the DNA of all rural Americans.
We see our work through a Century View of agriculture: A belief that our ancestors set the stage, just as we will for future farmers.
So, in a way, although the aronia berry has been recognized as “What’s Next” in the natural and organic industry, the future began over a century ago.
From plant starters to samples in stores, whether it was standing with Iowa’s governor and Secretary Northey during the inaugural Farm Environmental Leader awards or being recognized as GREAT for the “environment, sustainability, and the world” by How Good at the largest natural products expo in the world, our success is firmly rooted in our generational approach to farming.