Meet Your Host

Welcome! I'm so glad you're here!

In case we haven't met, I'm Shelby. I'm the founder of Garden. Farm. Thrive., and the host for the annual Backyard Vegetable Gardener's Summit and the Homestead Livestock Summit. Before I started Garden. Farm. Thrive., I spent 6 years teaching high school and college agriculture classes (shout out to all of the hardworking FFA teachers out there!). I also have a B.S. in Animal and Dairy Science and a M.S. in Agriculture.

I've been raising animals for food for over 20 years. When someone says that nothing tastes as good as a homegrown tomato, ask them if they've ever eaten bacon from a pig they raised. If you're not raising your own animals for food, you're seriously missing out!

My dream for this 4-day, focused event is for you to utilize the space that you have and turn it into a haven for you to raise your own livestock and become more self-sufficient. I can't wait to see what all you take away from this summit!

But, enough about me. Let's meet your amazing speakers!

Visit Garden. Farm. Thrive.

Meet the Speakers

Heather Levin

Keeping Your Chickens Healthy during the Winter

Heather Levin is a homesteader, chicken wrangler of 30+ chickens, and the founder of The Greenest Acre and Chicken Health Academy, a pioneering online learning academy that teaches natural and emergency chicken care strategies.

Heidi Villegas, M.A., C.C.A., Herbalist

Medicinal Herbs and Essential Oils for Animals

Heidi Villegas is the founder of the Healing Harvest Homestead School of Botanical Arts and Sciences. She is a certified professional-level aromatherapist and community/clinical herbalist. She also homesteads on a small farm and loves to grow most of her food and medicine. Her medicinal herb gardens are her favorite! She's a proponent of holistic health care for both humans and animals.
Heidi loves teaching others to be medically self-sufficient through the use of medicinal herbs and essential oil therapies. She also loves teaching about natural living skills such as fermentation, green cleaning, natural beauty, skincare, and more.

Lisa Steele

5th Generation Advice for Keeping Chickens

Lisa Steele is a 5th generation chicken keeper, top-selling author, and founder of the popular backyard chicken-keeping brand Fresh Eggs Daily. With nearly a million followers worldwide, she has been dubbed “Queen of the Coop” by the media and has been teaching others to raise backyard flocks for over a decade.

Lisa lives on a small farm in Maine with her husband, their corgi, and a flock of about three dozen chickens, ducks, and geese where she is currently producing and hosting the award-winning television show Welcome to my Farm on CreateTV.

Chris Dalziel

Using Tree Fodder to Create Resilience, Diversity, and Carbon on Your Homestead

Chris helps natural moms create a homegrown lifestyle so they can create health and wellness for their families naturally. She is a teacher, author, gardener, and herbalist with 35+ years’ of growing herbs and formulating herbal remedies, skin care products, soaps, and candles.

Chris is the founder of the DIY Herbal Fellowship, the DIY Herb of the Month Club, the Joybilee Farm blog, and an instructor at Joybilee Academy. Chris believes in giving her readers a quick win because each quick win builds confidence and empowers intuition for self-reliance and natural health.
Chris is the author of multiple books about food preservation, raising bees, and homemade, natural beauty products.

Kathi Rodgers

Homesteading Goats: Tips for Taming, Training, and Thriving Together

Kathi Rodgers from Oak Hill Homestead is a lifelong homesteader-at-heart. Decades of experience with gardening, goats, and chickens has given her a mission to help others be more self-sufficient and to make that lifestyle more fulfilling.

On Kathi's website, Oak Hill Homestead, you’ll find homestead and gardening tips, and encouragement to keep you going when times get hard. Kathi lives with her husband in central Oklahoma.

Tracy Lynn

Setting up the Best Fence for Your Goats

Tracy Lynn is the founder of Simple Living Country Gal where she helps folks learn to live a more sustainable life all from their own backyard. From goats to gardens and everything in between her tips on simple living can be incorporated into anyone’s lifestyle. Her goal is to spread the news that a simple life is no longer limited to dirt roads and pastures.

Carolyn Thomas

Cultured Dairy: Using Wild Cultures for Delicious Dairy

Carolyn Thomas and her husband, Josh, live on a 40-acre homestead in Idaho surrounded by gardens, livestock, and children. She spends her days rocking babies, homeschooling her children, and preserving food for the coming winter. As part of her passion, she also teaches homesteading skills to encourage other families to live simply and focus on the things that really matter... faith, family, and really good food!

Brandon Sheard

Harvesting Livestock on the Home Scale

Brandon Sheard came into traditional livestock harvesting after studying Shakespeare in graduate school. With no experience in butchery or agriculture, he quit his job at Whole Foods Market and started work on a small, multi-species and pasture-based farm in the Pacific Northwest. After two years of working on the farm and managing the butcher shop, Brandon left and started Farmstead Meatsmith with his wife Lauren who had journeyed with him from academia to agriculture. Today they live in northeastern Oklahoma with their nine children, teaching the art of traditional animal harvesting and provisioning on the domestic scale. They host the Meatsmith Membership online and offer undiluted hands-on classes in animal harvesting according to the traditions of the peasant home.

Steve and Emily Forbes

How to Naturally Cure Bacon at Home

Steve and Emily Forbes weren’t born farmers, but an interest in healthy eating and a passion for cooking led them to start gardening in whatever space they had available. Eventually, they quit their corporate jobs to begin a small farm where they grow the highest quality food, not only for their own family but for their local community as well. They sell their produce and pasture-raised meat through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model where families purchase a membership and receive a box of fresh produce every week throughout the growing season. In addition to produce, they raise chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, yaks, and cattle out on pasture. They also host 4-course Farm-to-table dinners highlighting the delicious flavors of our farm-fresh ingredients.

Many people know preparing meals with fresh, locally grown meat and produce is better for your health and results in the best-tasting food. Yet they know it can be overwhelming when you come home from the farmer's market or open up your CSA box and don't know where to start. They want to come alongside to teach you the essential skills to confidently turn local, fresh food into your own at-home farm-to-table experience.

Audrey Crawford

Feeding Your Flock Through All Stages

Audrey is an entrepreneur who teaches others how to grow a garden, raise chickens, and learn the skills it takes to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. She has had a garden and chickens her entire life and she shares her skills and passion through her website and YouTube channel.

Ruth Rackley

Homestead Harvest: Planting Dreams, Nurturing Data, Growing Success

Ruth is a homeschooling farm girl passionate about all things related to food and farming. With a degree in Animal Science, a minor in Agricultural Business, and a certified master gardener, she's been on an incredible journey spanning over 25 years in the art of food production. Her green thumb and passion for nurturing life extend to her family farm nestled in the heart of South Carolina. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she pours her heart into raising and preserving food that nurtures her family.
With her husband Todd and their two daughters by her side, Ruth's journey doesn't end at the family table. They're the proud stewards of a commercial beef cattle and poultry farm. But don't be fooled by the large-scale farming operation – they're true homesteaders. Ruth and her family have ingeniously woven their expansive farming expertise into a rich tapestry of homesteading. Drawing upon their deep understanding of efficient farming practices, they've seamlessly integrated their knowledge into a thriving homestead that flourishes. Join them on their journey as they prove that even in commercial farming, the spirit of homesteading can thrive and inspire.

Mindy Young

Choosing the Right Goat: 4 Traits to Look For When Choosing a Quality Goat

Mindy Young is a lifelong livestock enthusiast. She grew up raising cattle, sheep, and pigs and bought her first group of Boer goats in 2009. Through the years, goats have become one of her favorites due to their fun personalities and the challenges they sometimes present.
Mindy has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science & Industry from Kansas State University as well as a Master's Degree from Oklahoma State University in Agricultural Education. It was at OSU that she first learned about the possibilities of raising Boer goats from a classmate. Since then, Mindy has enjoyed learning all there is to learn about raising goats. She has become an industry leader both locally and online. She has helped thousands of people with the knowledge she has learned firsthand. Mindy worked as an Extension Agent for 7 years before quitting to work from home and raise her three children.

Sonia Hubly

Getting Started with Pig Farming on Your Homestead

Sonia is the founder and creator of the blog Mom, Wife, Homestead Life, where she creates content to help families become self-sufficient in simple and creative ways. On the family's 14-acre homestead, you can find her raising livestock, growing and tending a large garden, and preserving as much healthy organic food as she can for her family.
Sonia graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in Agricultural Education and enjoyed an early career in education by holding the role of a middle and high school agriculture instructor. After starting a family, she left teaching to focus solely on homesteading and homeschooling and has loved every minute of it. When she isn’t homesteading, Sonia enjoys helping other online business owners get started, quilting, an afternoon on the golf course, and spending time with her family, which includes three young sons!

Katie Krejci, MS, RD, IFNCP

Raising Pastured Meat Chickens

Katie "The Homesteading RD" is a homesteader and Registered Dietitian (RD) who loves REAL food, self-sufficiency, and doing things the old-fashioned way. Katie and her husband, Ryan, have been homesteading for 10 years, and just recently moved to their new homestead on 240 acres in the north woods of Minnesota.

Katie currently manages a large vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, layer chickens, and meat chickens. Katie also enjoys foraging for wild medicinal plants, tapping trees for maple syrup, and engaging in different methods of food preservation to carry them through their long Minnesota winters. Katie aims to educate and empower others to take control, improve their health, and become more self-sufficient through her blog and social media platforms.

Wardee Harmon

Simple & Delicious Cheesemaking

Wardee lives in the Boise area of Idaho with her dear family. She's the author of Fermenting and other traditional cooking eBooks, and the lead teacher and owner of the Eat God's Way cooking program.

Janet Garman

Raising Sheep that Make Sense for Your Homestead

Janet Garman is the writer and animal wrangler on Timber Creek Farm. In addition to writing blog posts, she manages the online shop, seeks out new products to add to their Free Range Yarn lineup, and writes books and magazine articles. In addition, Janet loves to speak at in-person venues to further education regarding small farm operations, livestock care, and the importance of the wool industry. She has a background in large animal farm management and an animal science degree from the University of Maryland, which has helped her focus her energy on helping others learn to raise livestock, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and small farm management.

You can find her writing in Countryside Magazine, Backyard Poultry Magazine, and Goat Journal. She speaks both locally and throughout the US on homesteading, poultry, and livestock management. Janet's books include Natural Dyes on Wool with Timber Creek Farm, Keeping Sheep and Other Fiber Animals, 50 Do-it-Yourself Projects for Keeping Goats, 50 Do-it-Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens, Chickens from Scratch, Habitat Housing for Rabbits, and Margarita and the Beautiful Gifts. All books are available in her online shop, or wherever books are sold.

Want to know when the presentations are taking place? Check out the schedule!