Updated: Feb 11
Growing up less than ten minutes from the Ranch, Matthew Mulder is familiar with the land and locals of Henry county but had never heard of Grateful Graze until more recently. Matthew had helped on his family farm when he was younger but never really enjoyed it until later in life.
After Matthew graduated from high school, he went on to culinary school for two very different reasons. First, he wanted an escape from the farm life. Second, he was inspired by his grandma, who he had a garden with that grew his passion for cooking food. At culinary school, he learned about everything from fine dining to canning vegetables to even butchering meat, which eventually led him to a career in assisted living preparing food. There, he not only cooked meals for the elderly, but involved the senior citizen community by inviting them to help prepare food from his garden with him. With more free time now, they wanted tasks to help them stay busy, and cutting carrots and skinning potatoes supplied them with that newfound purpose. Some of the seniors with severe dementia who did not normally talk or usually just made noises, would start to speak or even smile when he would hand them green beans or an ear of corn.
Though working in assisted living was a stable amount of income and allowed Matthew to continue growing his passion for cooking food, he felt a calling to focus on farming. He studied Gabe Brown’s model and listened to his podcasts about regenerative agriculture. Matthew was immediately drawn to the concept that nothing is wasted. Regenerative farming does not involve spending a fortune and you get to use the gift God gave you to its fullest! Inspired, he started growing organic vegetables and raising goats, hogs, cows, chickens, and rabbits for their meat, milk, and eggs, incorporating regenerative practices and working with mother nature.
After Matthew’s career in healthcare came to an end during the pandemic, he applied to a couple conventional farming positions but none of them felt right. They were either too large or practicing animal welfare was not a top priority for them. Then, while Matthew was attending the Cambridge Farmers Market, he ran into Monte and was informed of Grateful Graze’s mission to bring livestock back to the land. He soon saw that Monte was the “Gabe Brown” of Illinois and wanted to start working with him! The best part about Grateful Graze is that its location is close to his home, so he is still able to spend time with his family!
Matthew’s responsibilities as a member of the livestock team at Grateful Graze include caring for the livestock and ensuring their well-being is attended to. We are looking forward to having Matthew at our ranch and utilizing his caretaker, culinary, and processing skills on our operation.
During an interview with Matthew, I asked him, “Why Grateful Graze? What makes it the perfect fit for you?”. Matthew joked that North Dakota is too far, hinting at the location of Gabe Brown’s successful operation. Plus, Grateful Graze is the only place around here doing what it is doing at this large of a scale. It is not providing to a family alone but rather a community, which allows it to grow and provides an opportunity for employment in rural America. Matthew likes the way Grateful Graze is headed and looks forward to helping us grow as a model for farmers in the future.