Geraghty’s Microfarm On Controlling Your Food Supply

First-generation farmer Dayna Geraghty of Geraghty's Microfarm offers words of advice and encouragement for taking the homesteading plunge.

by Phillip Mlynar
PHOTO: Geraghtys Microfarm

Ever wondered whether it’s possible to use your own living space to produce enough food to feed your family? You might want to look to Dayna and Josh Geraghty for inspiration.

Five years ago, the couple was living in a townhouse in downtown Winchester, Virginia. One day, as Dayna recalls it, they “realized it’s shocking to live in a society where it’s normal not to know how your food was raised and where it came from.”

So they decided to take measures into their own hands.

After growing vegetables and herbs in their back garden, they added three Bantam Silver Sebright hens to the mix. Since moving outside the city and founding Geraghty’s Microfarm, they’re now “close to raising just about all the food our family eats,” along with being able to provide for other local families through a CSA program.

We spoke to Dayna about the challenges involved in becoming first-generation farmers, documenting and sharing their adventures through social media and the adorable appeal of KuneKune pigs.

Starting From Scratch

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Hey guys! ?? – – I’d like to introduce ourselves since we’ve had a lot of new followers recently. I’m Dayna – I consider myself the professional piglet cuddler ?, amateur iPhone photographer ?, and part-time book keeper. My husband, Josh, is the brains behind the operation. He researches for the perfect additions to the farm, is a barn designer extraordinaire, and master deal finder. ?? All of the above are very real titles. ? – – Seriously though, on top of us both working full time jobs, running a farm is no easy task. We’re asked all the time – “How do you find the time to get everything done?” ? – – The real answer is, we don’t. ??‍♀️ I know other farmers/homesteaders understand that concept. We do make the most of each and every day though. 2.5 years ago we decided we needed a change from the city living in a townhouse. Which is why we decided to buy some property right outside the city and start our “micro farm”. – – We knew our food deserved better and were determined to raise our own food the way it’s entitled to. ?? We take pride in the way we raise our livestock, and love teaching you all that it’s possible to do the same!! – – We’ve taken on a little more each year & are honored to say we’ll be able to provide others in our community farm fresh products in 2020. I never thought we’d be at this point today, but we are so grateful to have the support from you all as we grow. ? #geraghtysmicrofarm @sassy_feathers_farm @themustardseedfarmco – – We invite our friends @jackcooperranch @backalleybotany and @valleyrootsfarm to join in on the fun. We would to see some introductions from you all! ??

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“Our biggest obstacle was starting with practically nothing and never actually farming ourselves,” recalls Dayna, when asked about deciding to become first-generation farmers.

“We bought a property that had zero fencing, zero structures and we had zero livestock. But in return we learned so much from the process and got to make our farm suit our needs. Now we’re able to share our successes and failures with others.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Dayna and Josh place a lot of faith in the words of farmer and author Joel Salatin. “We took a seminar this past fall and he spoke about something that hit home with us,” says Dayna.

“If you aren’t proficient at something, ask for help. Homesteading and farming is starting to become more popular and there are people in your community that will be more than willing to help you.”

As an example, Danya says that they planned their first-year farm garden themselves—”and let’s just say it didn’t turn out too hot!”

“Lucky for us, our great friend is an amazing gardener and agreed to help us this past year. Guess what? It was an amazing success. Everyone will need help at some point—don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask for it.”

Meet The KuneKune Pigs

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We prepared our garden last year using kunekune piglets and had such a huge success! ?? – – It only made sense to bring in some new piglets as this years clean up crew/preparation for next year. We also have another garden fenced off and ready for some piglets to get ready for next years harvest. ? – – Wyatt (pictured) and his two brothers-from-another-mother got to enjoy all the lush grass & left over harvest in this garden! ???? They’ll also gently disturb the ground (since they can’t excessively root) and fertilize it with their manure. – – Come late winter we’ll move them on fresh pasture as pig manure needs 60 days to break down before you plant (fun fact for the day). Which will give it just enough time before we plant in this garden for next years harvest. #geraghtysmicrofarm #LifeOutHere

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Along with growing produce, Dayna and Josh have populated Geraghty’s Microfarm with eye-catching KuneKune pigs.

Josh was initally more enthusiastic than Dayna towards the animals—”My instant reaction was there is no possible way we are getting pigs [because] they’re dirty, smelly and destroy everything, right?” recalls Dayna—but after chancing across a KuneKune sow and her piglets, Dayna changed her mind.

After Josh in turn surprised her with “three of the absolute cutest KuneKune piglets,” they now count almost 20 KuneKune pigs among the ranks.

That KuneKune Personality

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I know a lot of you have been asking when piglets would be here… that day is finally here!! ??? – – – We’ve been checking her for what feels like forever. We finally saw her milk come in this weekend and knew it was a matter of a day or so. Josh checked the camera early this morning and she was content. An hour later I checked and there were piglets already nursing!!! – – – I don’t think I’ve ever jumped out of bed that fast. For a first time mama she had an amazing farrowing. We got to welcome 6 beautiful, healthy babies to the homestead. ? We have 5 gilts (girls) and 1 boar (boy)! Pictures don’t justify just how precious they are. ? – – – I have to admit, this is the coolest birth we’ve had on our farm to date. It was incredible seeing them born, dried off, nursing and feisty as all get out in minutes. They already love exploring and fighting over the best spot at the nurse bar. ? I could sit and watch them for hours! #geraghtysmicrofarm

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When it comes to the KuneKune pigs, Dayna says “they are gentle, talkative and absolutely love attention. Their unique colors, long hair and short upturned snouts make them unlike any other breed of pig.” She adds that they have a social streak and will come running as soon as humans are in sight—often angling for belly rubs and ear scratches.

“Since they’re so docile they’re the perfect small homestead pig, especially if you have children,” says Dayna.

Get Inspired to Feed Your Family

Dayna maintains that if you’ve been considering trying to directly provide the food to feed your family via your own property, definitely go ahead and take the plunge.

“Our biggest advice is that it doesn’t matter how small you start because everyone has to start somewhere,” she says. “That somewhere is different for each person—personally, we started with three chickens. If you want to grow your own food, there’s never an amount that isn’t worth the effort.”

Follow Geraghty’s Microfarm at Instagram.

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