Dear Friends,

Like everyone else on the planet, amid COVID chaos, I need to stop and remind myself why we are doing what we are doing: raising organic hemp for Homestead Alternatives, raising organic corn for Wildcat Willy’s Moonshine, raising pasture beef for our farm-to-table restaurant, seeking customers who welcome alternatives.

Here my answer to myself:

1.  This is a move to address the hard questions of environmental and rural decline. We seek to model rural and environmental rebirth!

2. USDA-Certified organic is better than conventional chemical farming. True organic farming (which we do) is much better still. This means that everything we raise or grow, from chickens, to beef, to hemp, is grown in soil outdoors. Why soil-grown plants are better is a story of the microbiome; why pasture-raised beef and chicken is better is a story of regeneration rather than cruelty and pollution.

3. Rural rebirth means building back our community — not merely the buildings, but the village inside. It means joining with each other to have a meal, raise a toast, hear a talk, listen to live local music.

4. Loving our customers means having one of us, not an employee at a far-away call center, on the other end of the phone or the keyboard. It means opening the farm for events and tours. It means welcoming people to stay at the Homestead Log Cabin at Mt. Folly. It means local supply chains, a local economy, and, come Spring, a brick-and-mortar store at 1 South Main, Winchester, Ky!


There is a lot to unpack here, so with this email I’ll address just one.

The Microbiome and Soils

Food is grown in soil, right? Not always. Indeed, many of the tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and cannabis plants (hemp being a cannabis plant bred for very low THC) are grown indoors, hydroponically.

Plants grown without soil, or in a sterile medium such as coir, are NOT happy dirt-free plants, but plants in the hospital on an IV. They are tube- fed least-cost liquid nutrients by companies focused on their bottom lines.

Plants grown in soil share a microbiome which has co-evolved with humans, other plants and animals, over millennia*. True organic farmers feed the soil, which feeds the plants. This benefits us by increasing the complexity of our microbiome, while benefitting nature in many ways.

The Connection to Feeling Better?

It turns out that between 50 and 90 percent of our neurotransmitter serotonin, the feel-good transmitter, is produced by the microbiome in our gut…not in our brain. So, when you feel something “in your gut,” it is more than a metaphor.

People who suffer from depression and anxiety often are prescribed SSRIs, or serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which increase the amount of this desired neurotransmitter. We’d like to offer nature’s solution: preserve the gut microbiome, by selecting organic soil grown plants and supplements such as Homestead Alternatives CBD!

Laura Freeman Signature

PS. As part of our work to build community, Wildcat Willy’s is starting a lecture series, with the first lecture this Saturday, which also marks the roll-out of our very small batch 6-year-old Bourbon. Learn more here:

Covid is all the talk as it relates to hemp. Get the real story here.