Jeneen Wiche For now, I raise Kentucky grazed free-range chicken for meat and eggs and a growing herd of Katahdin sheep. I teach for the Anthropology Department part-time at the University of Louisville where my course offerings include Food and Body Politic, Indians of North America and American Indian Women. I oversee The Real Food Challenge at The University, as well. I write a syndicated farm and garden column that is published in about 15 community newspapers across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, I also write for the Bluegrass edition of Edible Louisville and for Limbwalker. For 10 years I produced a weekly garden segment for WDRB-41 television (which ended in 2009). In the fall of 2001 I joined Courier-Journal columnist, Bob Hill in producing a radio show for Louisville’s public radio station, WFPL 89.3 FM. HomeGrown (you can listen to past shows by clicking HomeGrown) featured stories on horticulture, agriculture and nature, it ended in the fall of 2010. I have won Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Communication Award and several Society of Professional Journalism Awards in Service Reporting and the 2013-2014 University of Louisville College of arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award. I frequently lecture, lead gardening workshops and welcome tours of the farm and gardens. I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College and a Masters in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. I have been teaching part-time at the University of Louisville since 1998. Most relevant to the farm, however, is the course Food and Body Politic which addresses the evolution and consequences of our industrial food system. My late father, Fred Wiche laid the groundwork for all of this to be possible. The farm, his guiding hand and gentle nature always gave me the confidence to give anything a shot. I have mostly succeeded, by his example.
Andy Smart Andy and I moved back to the farm in 2003 and married in 2004. Andy is a graduate of Bellarmine University and the Landscape Manager for The Plant Kingdom located on Westport Road in St. Matthews.
He is expert in planting, is a Certified Arborist and a willing participant in 2-people chores when he gets home after a long day.
His work ethic and horticultural knowledge keep us growing; and like my father, his confidence in me nudges me along even after all but 2 of our first batch of meat chickens were killed by fox. 58 became 2 over night! Andy is in charge of the orchard and shares in animal husbandry duties involving food, water and protection; and gratefully he has mastered the art of trimming hooves.
Buck, Finca and Baxter
I would be remiss if I left out my companion and our guardians. Buck is a shelter rescue red heeler mutt who alerts me to any visitor and pays tribute to his breed by mostly being at my heels everywhere, he is good company. Baxter is our Maremma livestock guardian dog that was raised in a home for the first 5 months and is now fulfilling his breed’s intention. He has a gentle nature and a bold bark when he perceives a threat to his chickens, ewes and lambs. Baxter is proving to be an excellent deterrent to predation; he was joined in his duties by Finca, a Great Pyrenees puppy that came to the farm in the summer of 2013. Today Finca is bigger than Baxter and they make a great team.
Bandit and Parc are rescue cats plucked from the streets and prove loyal as payment.
Mommy Freda and Posse, her son, were feral strays collected from Courtney Farms. They are awesome mousers keeping the rodent pressure under control around feed bags and vegetable garden; plus they keep me company while I am picking blueberries. Posse disappeared in the late summer of 2013.
My family moved to western Shelby County in 1979 when I was ten years old. My father’s desire was to develop a horticultural experience that emphasized ornamental and edible plantings; today my husband Andy and I continue to care for his legacy while we reshape the focus of Swallow Rail Farm. Daddy named the farm after the barn swallows and the two railroads that flank each end of Conner Station and the two remain true. Today, we want a small working farm that can enrich our lives, the animals we raise and the customers we hope to serve. Along with other growing partners in Kentucky agriculture we can experience a farm to table relationship that means fresher food for you and a new model for Community Supported Agriculture that allows for unilateral support. Connecting the farm directly to the consumer is the goal here. My farm experience allows me to participate in the very thing I enjoy advocating and communicating through teaching, lectures, workshops and writing: our local farm economy from Lexington to Louisville and beyond does exists so please support it. We have Kentucky grazed lamb, poultry, eggs and fruit just outside of Metro Louisville.
Okay,so at the end of the day we are thankful; thank you.