The Farmers

Lidia Dungue and John Middleton (Owners)

 

Lidia Dungue

Lidia was a city girl hailing from Santa Barbara, not far from São Paulo Brasil. Growing up in the final throws of a military dictatorship, she learned young; the only route to true freedom is hard work, honesty and a love of learning.  Her mother, a Portuguese teacher and her father, a successful market owner taught her these lessons well. Her life has been a testament to a pursuit of learning and the reward of honest, hard work.  Her start in agriculture was inspired by a book about fighting for her own empowerment in a culture where being a women isn't always easy and almost never equal. Running a farm she was told 'is a man's job', she set out to prove otherwise. Lidia pursued and received a degree in agronomics from UNESP Ilha Solteira after high school. After college and a few less than inspiring experiences working for fertilizer companies she decided to travel to America for some practical experience on a vegetable farm. She never gave much credence to organic farming; her education towed the rope for conventional methods. That is, until apprenticing for a whole season on an organic farm in upstate New York. It was here she had the revelation that ‘organic farming really works’ and she was well on her way towards realizing her dream of owning and operating her own farm and farming in a way that felt right.

John Middleton

John grew up in the hills and forests of Upstate New York's dairy country. His first experience in agriculture was his families homestead. From his earliest years he was surrounded by chickens, dairy goats, pigs, fruit trees, a large garden and woods where wild berries were harvested. The dairy farm his dad grew up on was lost to fireOn The Homestead long before John was born, but he still ‘played farmer’ with his grandfather learning handy and mechanical work.  He was always a nature lover, spending all the time he could in the woods or down at the river trying his luck with the fish. After high school he went to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) receiving a B.S. in environmental science hoping to pursue a career in conservation and biological research. By the end of his college career he developed a rather strong obsession with the inextricable link between nature, the environment, society and agriculture.  Already having a formative foundation in agriculture from his mom, dad and grandpa coupled with a hard science education he found his true path into farming.

 

The Partnership

You wouldn’t have to spend much time with us to know that we are head over heels for one another. We met in the spring of 2007 at a local pub where the area farmers would gather most Sunday evenings. Since then we have been virtually inseparable, the exception being when Lidia’s visa was up and she had to return to Brasil. It took one year to the day, but she was finally able to return. It was a dreadful year apart but we felt like we passed a test that few couples will ever endure and emerged stronger and closer together for it. We got married within three weeks of Lidia's return.  In 2010 we jumped headlong into farming for ourselves and formed Fazenda Boa Terra. Each year sees continued growth and each year we see the farm moving a little closer to realizing the vision and dream we wish it to be.


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