In 2005 Jefferson was traveling in Senegal when a shaman proclaimed that he would not find happiness until he found a way to work with the dirt. Over the next several years Jefferson moved from one part of the US to another, working in coffee shops, hostels and the occasional farm.
By chance he and Zephir Plume moved to Martha’s Vineyard to manage the Youth Hostel in West Tisbury. Year one at the hostel saw a garden installed, year two a flock of chickens and ducks and by season three a pig on the neighbor’s property.
Itching to get closer to the land Jefferson raised close to 600 broiler chickens with Doug Brush at Flat Point Farm, hiring Island Grown Initiative’s processing crew to slaughter the birds. If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join them, which Jefferson did in 2009 when he took the reins as IGI’s Poultry Crew Leader. A year of processing other people’s birds (OPB) and running some numbers made it clear that raising chickens could make one a little scratch.
In 2010 Jefferson started the GOOD Farm with his friend Justin Myers on a few acres of rented Landbank pasture with a desire to raise chickens on pasture. It was a fortuitous collection of circumstances – the former lessees had fled the island under embezzlement charges, IGI had managed to secure an umbrella license for island poultry producers and Down Island Farm was willing to lend a hand with the brooding of chicks. That first year was not without difficulties but was successful enough that Jefferson was able to expand the next year into raising turkeys with Richard Andre and try his hand at raising a few pigs in a pen fenced in with 48 pallets and a couple of trees.
Kristen Henshaw Kingsbury called out of the blue and asked Jefferson if he might be interested in a little plot of land across the street from the Scottish Bakehouse. Kingsbury Fields were available and Jefferson and Zephir arrived in 2012 and continued expanding production. Fruit trees, hazelnuts, more than a few oaks and a field of raspberries appeared, pigs cleared underbrush and chickens covered the land as Jefferson and Zephir settled in. This year Jefferson plans on expanding his farming practices into the kitchen at the Larder so that all his happiness doesn't need to come from working in the dirt.