It started with a small garden at an acreage near Garretson in southeast South Dakota. A doctor and her family have gradually created a sustainable lifestyle, living off the land, and sharing that lifestyle with others.
Visitors are not only welcome; they are encouraged to get their hands dirty and learn how to do it themselves.
Get out of your vehicle at this farm near Garretson, and chances are you’ll get a warm ...and fuzzy…welcome.
Dr. Beth Jensen and her family adopted these orphan lambs. They are just a few of the dozens of animals on the farm and are part of a program created by the Jensen’s called Glean for Good.
Glean means leftover crops.
The Jensens are living off the land, doing everything from growing their vegetables to making their own maple syrup.
“Dr. Beth- This vision started out literally as seeds and saplings has grown into, there’s a place to come, experience this life out here and has become a teaching ground so that especially the generation of my own kids are able to come out and see that they can do that for themselves”
The idea was born out of a doctor’s concern for the health and wellbeing of her patients. She now lives a lifestyle she can share.
“Dr. Beth- Gradually at a pace we can keep up with has allowed us to have this more sustainable lifestyle and has allowed us to be outside more, be more physically active, be more connected with our own family and the community.”
Jensen says reaching young people is especially rewarding.
They get to see, smell, feel and hear animals like Tank, the Kuni Kuni Pig.
Dr. Beth -“Yea, the kids love to eat off him. Sometimes if I drop the food and it lands on Tank, then the kids will jump right on him. But they all get along so well; it’s a miracle.
Before the pandemic, Jensen welcomed groups of children, roaming the grounds and meeting the animals.
“you want to pick mulberries? Go ahead. You want to go chase the lambs around the house, that’s fine, there’s really no way for them to get in much trouble out here and that’s by design.“
Unfortunately, the extensive tours are on hold. So, Dr. Beth is taking Glean for Good into people’s homes over the internet via Zoom.
During a scheduled “Glean Screen” session as she calls it, classes, groups, and gatherings of all sizes can get up close and personal with animals like Ginger the Llama, the farm’s most popular animal.
Tom- So what’s her personality like, who is Ginger?
So, ha! Ginger, so in general, she is pretty shy, but once we catch her, she loves the camera.
Virtual tours are about learning but also having fun.
Dr. Beth- “I also have really enjoyed just trying to customize the experience, so maybe the animals are doing something, wearing something that especially fun, I don’t know if you noticed, but one of our lambs is wearing a PBS shirt. I’m not sure he came up to me, so Yea, are you a friend of Public Broadcasting, look at you!
We would love to open this up to the rest of the world if nothing else I want to people to know we have a sense of humor about this, that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we hope that people just want to be a part of this with us and, yeah that’s it.”
If you would like to check out the virtual tours, head to Gleanforgood.net
You can currently take small family groups to the farm to help with chores.
Those wanting more information about living a sustainable lifestyle can also find Dr. Jensen’s blog on the website.