Audra Owen’s grandmother worked her garden with 6-year-old Audra playing around her. That’s when Audra decided to become a gardener. So, Audra’s dad Matt helped her create a 4-by-4-foot garden to grow tomatoes.
A few years later, the family relocated to 8 acres on Oklahoma’s rural Canadian County prairie. Audra planted flowers to pretty things up near their house. But again, she wanted a garden.
This time Matt plotted a 40-by-20-foot garden, and Audra grew vegetables. Audra kept adding more plants, and the garden blossomed.
Three years ago, Audra bought various breeds of egg and meat chickens. Now the Owen family buys meat birds once annually, butchers and freezes them for family meals.
But Audra, the young hobby farmer, nurtured bigger plans for the eggs.
Two years ago at a local farmers market, the family noticed a seed company giving away seeds for unusual vegetables. They loaded up boxes of seeds and took them home, where Matt helped Audra plant them.
Audra’s hobby farm became so huge that her brother, Talan, now a 14-year-old eighth grader on the middle school football team, began helping with the grunt work. On school days, these teens are up by 5:40 a.m. to care for the animals and plants, and then off to school.
Pretty much in charge of the family’s agricultural projects, Audra and Talan keep things running but with help from dad and mom.
When Matt has time, he helps with the farm endeavors. But when he’s unavailable, his wife Catherine (“Cat”) helps the two teens.
“Everyone has their own job,” Cat says. “I’m the cook. They grow it, and I’ll cook it. We’ve tried a lot of new things we can eat out of the garden. We consume about half of what we grow. We can a lot and freeze our strawberries, blackberries and peaches.”
Give It Away
For the past few years, Audra has used social media to sell eggs, vegetables, and homemade jams and jellies. She donates all the funds for children to attend church programs.
She and Talan don’t keep any earnings.
Audra’s now 40-x-80-foot garden isn’t just a garden anymore. She has all kinds of chickens, a gender-unknown goose named Goose Lee, plus family dogs Jelly Bean and Jangles, and Talan’s dog, Bo.
Bo mothers all the chickens. He gets into the pens and counts them. The horses—Pancake and Baby—spend their days in a fenced pasture.
Audra is now a 16-year-old high school sophomore who watches Netflix from the couch. But the young hobby farmer is also a high-energy agricultural entrepreneur who has generated farming ideas for 10 years.
Their hobby farm produces most of the family’s meals. Audra experiments with her produce, and she’s now trying to dry vegetables while researching duck eggs.
And she’s still selling chicken eggs, produce, and jams and jellies, while giving away all her profits. In 2018, she gave away more than $400, which is exactly what she wanted to do!
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Chickens magazine.