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At Home with Moore Family Farms

A local-food enthusiast and recent college graduate puts theory to work creating a family farm outside Albuquerque.

| September/October 2013

  • Although starting a market farm was Richard’s dream, the farming bug bit the entire family. Richard is the farm’s only full-time employee, but Carol and Ken help with the farm work and with staffing the farmers market each week. The two relish the opportunity to dig in the earth in the evening after they get home from their office jobs.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Moore Family Farms is home to a flock of 37 chickens, 4 Barbados Blackbelly sheep and 17 Saxony and Appleyard ducks, which provide eggs and meat and help control pests.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Moore Family Farms is home to a flock of 37 chickens, 4 Barbados Blackbelly sheep and 17 Saxony and Appleyard ducks, which provide eggs and meat and help control pests.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Although starting a market farm was Richard’s dream, the farming bug bit the entire family. Richard is the farm’s only full-time employee, but Carol and Ken help with the farm work and with staffing the farmers market each week. The two relish the opportunity to dig in the earth in the evening after they get home from their office jobs. Richard’s sister, Betty, is a college student who lives away from home, but she still helps out as time allows.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • At the weekly farmers market, the Moores sell a wide range of fresh produce ranging from lettuce and tomatoes to kohlrabi, okra and bok choy.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • A blend of traditional and modern, the Moore home has classic Southwestern stucco walls, low-maintenance native plantings and a 2.5-kilowatt solar system.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • The Moores’ passion for healthy, high-quality food fueled their decision to farm. Their passion for the earth prompted the decision to build a green home.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • This smaller-than-average home lives large with an additional 1,000 square feet of living spaces on porches. The kiva-style fireplace enables year-long enjoyment.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Although starting a market farm was Richard’s dream, the farming bug bit the entire family. Richard is the farm’s only full-time employee, but Carol and Ken help with the farm work and with staffing the farmers market each week. The two relish the opportunity to dig in the earth in the evening after they get home from their office jobs.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Richard grows a diverse range of food crops, enough to stock a booth at the weekly farmers market and keep his family in fresh food.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Richard grows a diverse range of food crops, enough to stock a booth at the weekly farmers market and keep his family in fresh food.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Moore Family Farms is home to a flock of 37 chickens, 4 Barbados Blackbelly sheep and 17 Saxony and Appleyard ducks, which provide eggs and meat and help control pests.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings
  • Richard grows a diverse range of food crops, enough to stock a booth at the weekly farmers market and keep his family in fresh food.
    Photo By Kirk Gittings

Fresh out of college and hoping to start a market garden, Richard Moore got lucky when his parents decided to trade in their cramped suburban Albuquerque, New Mexico, neighborhood in favor of a fertile, rural area. After considering a range of locations from trendy to rustic, Carol and Ken Moore bought two irrigated acres near town, where they planned to build a superefficient home. Their longing for a more sustainable lifestyle in a rural setting just happened to coincide with their son’s agrarian impulse. The concept for Moore Family Farms was born.

From Classroom to Field

Richard graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan in 2009, where sustainability studies courses had gotten him thinking about environmental ethics, ecological philosophy and land stewardship.

“I was interested in sustainable food systems, and farming seemed a neat way to tackle it,” Richard says. “I got really interested in humanity’s relationship to the natural world.”

And he got more interested in what he ate. Richard was starting to cook more often, which led to shopping for local, organic foods at farmers markets and food co-ops. But growing things seemed a leap. “I had barely even gardened,” he says.



After graduating and moving back home to Albuquerque, Richard interned at Los Poblanos Organics, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) enterprise now called Skarsgard Farms. There he got a hands-on crash course in planting, weeding, fertilizing, harvesting and handling fresh food, and taking it to market. He even attended farmer Monte Skarsgard’s weekly classes on how to run a CSA.

After that year, Richard began looking around for a place where he could grow his own crops.



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