Hi, my name is Amber Webb, and I want to be one of your local farmers. I’ve worked in agriculture most of my life. My mother ran Rocky Ridge Farm in the Ozark Hills of SW Missouri when I was a child. She was a Master Gardener, truck farmer (that’s what we called farmer’s market vendors in the 80’s), and homesteader. The farm was 120 acres, and a beautiful place to grow up. We ran cattle on the pastured ridgetops, kept chickens in the barnyard, had extensive gardens & orchards, and enjoyed the most magical childhood.
When I was 15, Mom sold the farm, downsized to a smaller homestead, and I started high school. It was during these years that my love for the environment and our natural resources grew. In high school, I was passionate about water quality. While my classmates would be out on a Saturday with friends at the mall, I could be found crawling around in a ditch to grab a water sample with my MO Stream Team buddies. After high school I was accepted to The School of Natural Resources – University of Missouri. Attending such a school only deepened my connection and understanding of the cycles of nature and society’s ecological footprint. But it wouldn’t be long before agriculture would come back into my life. I needed a job, and found an ad for a water quality research laboratory dishwasher. I applied, got the job, and went down the rabbit hole that would lead to my 1st career. My new employer was USDA-ARS, and I was back in the agriculture world feeling empowered we might improve things for water quality. I worked as a student intern in the laboratory until I graduated 4 years later. In that time I took a second job in the Agroforestry department as a research assistant, volunteered on the side mapping caves in the Karst topography of the Midwest, and met Roger, my future husband and a student of the Engineering school.
After I completed my degree, I took a full time research technician position in the USDA-ARS Water Quality Lab. Roger still had a few years to finish his Software Engineering degree, and we had made a home in Columbia, MO. However, this just wasn’t going to be my happily ever after. The farm life started calling quietly in my ear. While working for USDA I started to become a bit jaded with large scale agriculture in our society. When Roger finished his degree, he accepted a job with a company in the Bay area, California. I worked briefly in a wet chemistry lab in Napa, CA, but could not stop thinking about what life I wanted for my kids and future. We settled into a 13 acre property, grew our family, and I finally started my farm after a ton of soul searching. Spontaneous Farm was born in 2014 as a small homestead and dream. The farming culture in Sonoma County, California fulfilled everything I dreamed of and taught me so much more than I could have imagined. However, unexpectedly, in 2016, our little farm was rolled up in the housing crises of the Bay area. It became blaringly obvious where we were living wasn’t ideal for our dreams.
We moved to Yamhill County in 2017 to be closer to family, and actually own our home. Now we are getting closer to that happily ever after! The current homestead is located in the Dundee Hills overlooking Lafayette, OR, and we lease some acreage ½ mile down our lane for the farm. In 2018, we took our 1st real steps as a commercial farm, at our new location, and raised 600 birds on pasture with dreams of expanding to a great regenerative, biodynamic farm. It felt SO good, and there’s no going back now. I’m here, y’all, I made it to my happily ever after! My background has made me passionate about providing the best quality food, while restoring the land instead of taxing it. My deep love and respect for our natural resources compels me to farm the way I do. When you treat the animals & the land more as nature intended, it just feels right. Send me an email anytime, I’d love to get to know you & your family, and for you to get to know Spontaneous Farm.
~Amber Webb Fall 2019, The Happy Farmer