MEET YOUR FARMERS
Born and raised in Liege, Belgium, Laurent first came to the USA at the age of 15 as an exchange student. For the next 3 years he returned to spend his summer vacations with his ‘American Family’ in Upstate NY where he developed a great fondness for the states. He met his wife, Debi, a NY native, during this time and when it was time to return to Belgium she went with him. They spent 2 1/2 years living in Belgium where they owned and operated a ‘Liberarie’ for a year and then Laurent worked as a head waiter in an upscale restaurant before deciding they were better suited to the states and returned to NY in 1994.
Back in NY, Laurent first worked as an apprentice with a custom carpenter for a year and then moved on to build his own successful construction & contracting business. During this time, Debi worked nights as a waitress and kept the books for their for their construction company. From 1995 to 1999 their 3 beautiful children were born.
Life was wonderful. Business was booming. The children were prospering. Their marriage was terrific.
But then in May of 2003 Debi found a lump under her right arm and in June, at the age of 32, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Their world came to a crashing halt while they were bombarded with prognosis’, medical information, options and were swept up into a fury of surgeries, chemotherapy treatments and radiation. Once they were able to digest it all, they began their research on the food supply in our country where they found the undeniable link to the use of hormones, antibiotic use, pesticides and herbicides in our foods to cancer.
Then and there, they decided that they would finally take the risk to follow their dream of some day having a farm. They knew that if they wanted to continue to eat meat, they would only eat what they raised themselves.
In the beginning, Arcadian Pastures was established as a natural family ‘health insurance’ for our family. Believing that what we choose to feed our bodies is in direct relation to the amount of unbounding health we are able to achieve. We first switched to an ‘organic’ diet but were still not satisfied knowing that our ‘organic’ foods were coming from far away places such as Mexico, South America and Argentina. Who knew what these countries standards were for their organic certifications?! So we decided that we needed to begin to grow our own food, to be sure that what we were eating and feeding our children was meeting our seemingly impossible standards. Neither Laurent nor Debi had any background in farming, and taking on an overgrown 136 acre property that had only been hayed for the past 26 years and converting it into a prosperous working livestock farm was [is] an undertaking of mammoth proportions.
But the more we experienced the entire concept of farming, and the more we learned about first, the nutritious, and then, the environmental, impacts of small-scale sustainable farming, the more we became passionate about it.
Today, our family farm is a ‘work in progress’ and most likely that will continue to be the case until we someday decide to pass the farm on to one of our children or other individual that carries our same passions. Each day is a new journey, bringing new challenges and new beginnings and we continue to learn, grow and progress along the way.
We are living our dream, and if we can help people to be able to feed themselves and their families in the cleanest and most nutritious possible way, then we believe we have done our job of contributing to bettering our world.