Monday, December 17, 2012

Natures harmony post mortem...

Natures harmony now appears to be out of the business of raising animals for food.  Their website has been completely scrubbed of all references to anything other than homestead cheese.  He's been busily seeking publicity for his farm and books, and I figured I'd give him a shout out here.   He has also deleted his podcasts from his secondary site, and itunes. 

I've written about them a number of times, and one of the things that Tim Young has complained about when I, or other folks, have written about him, is that he wasn't contacted first. 

Here's an example, from his blog, dated 11-28-2009, post titled "The poster child for animal cruelty"

" should know that Drovers and ALPHARMA have come to the conclusion that we are cruel to animals.  They base their carefully considered conclusion on perusal of aNY Times article about us several months ago..."

"...Of course, they never attempted to contact us to ask us any questions about our philosophy..."

So today I sent this email to Tim via his website: 

"Tim, you've objected in the past when folks have written things about you or your farm without contacting you first or at all; one case is your blog post "the poster child for animal cruelty" dated 11-28-2009 -- you objected to them writing an opinion without contacting you first. 

I will be doing this article either way, and you're welcome to record anything said so that you can ensure that I'm quoting you accurately and completely -- I plan on doing the same.  "

I've asked him to respond in the next few days. 

Stuff for the spiders:  natures harmony farm, Tim and Liz Young, Tim Young, Grassfed dairy, farmstead cheese, Georgia Cheese Author Tim Young farmcast farm dreams guide to profitable homesteading accidental farmers


Emily Dunkle said...

I liked Tim and Liz's podcast when I first discovered it, but it seems fishy how they have covered their tracks after each venture of theirs. Why take down the blog? Why remove the podcast? Where's the transparency in all this? It's hard to build trust in an audience if they keep on erasing what they've done in the past. I would have the utmost respect for their successes and failures if they would just be honest about them.

Paul said...

You actually can find their blog if you google "Natures Harmony Farm Blog". It doesn't appear they have a direct link to it from their website, but it pulls up on the google search. It is a bit clunky to navigate through since you can only access the older posts by starting with the most recent post and clicking the "Older Post" button near the bottom to go to the next most recent post. But the blog is still there......

Bruce King said...

Tim and Liz are claiming that the reason that the blog and podcast aren't up any more is that the expense of hosting it.

There is some interest in holding a collection to help them with that expense. You can see discussion of it on their facebook page.

Since hosting is pretty much free all over the web, I'm pretty sure that $5 would cover the costs for a whole year. So it shouldn't be too hard a goal to meet.

Honestmeat said...

They are award-winning cheesemakers now, so who cares if they dropped some enterprises that perhaps didn't make sense for them or weren't meeting their farm goals. Am I missing something here? Are businesses supposed to be static?

Bruce King said...

Tim and Liz, more than most, have made a big deal about running a profitable farm and promoting their practices and philosophy. So with that said, when they change their farm completely and discard the majority of the products and services -- yep, it's worth thinking about.

Look, this is the guy who wrote the book on profitable homesteading.

Honestmeat said...

Tim's book was a memoir about their trials and tribulation getting their farm started. It most certainly is not "the book on profitable homesteading" and I'm pretty sure he never positioned it like that.
As far as "thinking" about what they are doing, why? Are you one of their customers? Investors? Neighbors? No, so you are not really a stakeholder and there's no need for you to obsess about the changes they have made to their farm.

Bruce King said...

Honestmeat -- one thing I appreciate about you is that you have an opinion and you stand up for it. I may disagree, or come to a different conclusion, but I'm pretty clear where you stand and that you mean what you say.

You wrote a book about profitable farming, focusing on various farms that you believe had a model that worked for them.

I also write about farms that succeed - most recently the entry about the grass fed dairy; you'll find many examples of that on this blog.

I also write about farms that failed. The feedback I've gotten is that this is often more valuable to someone contemplating farming than the sunshine and rainbow view that is prevalent.

I think a balanced view is more useful to people who are contemplating farming.

Powdery Top said...

Honestmeat (or TY, whatever)... if you are so transparent, I mean, if NHF is so transparent, can you help answer these questions:
1) NHF is hosted on Squarespace. Even their most basic plan allows for unlimited blog content - so why PULL the old content - it's "free" as long as you are hosting there, which you still are.
2) You/they hosted their podcast on libsyn and there's a cost. But we were all told Dusty Bottoms was paying for that. And it was made VERY CLEAR by Mr. Young that HE WAS NOT DUSTY BOTTOMS! So - what happened - Dusty not footing the bill? Ohh my, does that mean farm dreams is going to be shutting down (gasp the horror)
1a + 2a) Why not move all your podcasts BACK to Squarespace where you started and leave them all there for the masses to consume your endless wisdom and knowledge. Wait, maybe they are being archived for another "farm school", that would be swell.
3) I believe the pseudonym Dusty Bottoms did in fact publish a book on "profitable" farming and homesteading, or are those images all over the farm dreams site a mistake?

I think Cousin Brucie's point here is simple. If you/NHF is going to be a mouthpiece for agriculture then they damn well better play by the rules they say they are playing with. I'm guessing Bruce isn't a fan of hypocrites and that might be why, since he too is sharing his stories about ag, he has a bee in his bonnet and is calling out what appears to be a pattern of blatant and deliberate misdirection.

Let's just call a spade a spade... TY wanted to be Joel. He wanted to become the authoritative voice in small scale sustainable ag. Problem is - he never stuck to any one pursuit long enough to become authoritative. He thought the millions he made from selling his dot-com company that built his little farm would "buy" him that authoritative voice, the "ohh what did Mr. Young say because he's so smart" status. When said that way, it's nuts that he gave up his identity when he imagined Dusty Bottoms on the crusade to create farmers from dreamers. He also never quite managed the transparency he preached.

Go back to your "I paid for the award" award winning, opaque cheese cave TY, Honestmeat, Dusty or whatever you call yourself. The world of small scale sustainable ag will do just fine without your "voice" guiding us into choices based on half truths.

Bruce King said...

Just a point of clarification: I am pretty sure that honestmeat isn't Tim Young, although Tim has used false names many times in discussions, and has written "reviews" of his own books and responded to other peoples reviews using fake names, this probably isn't the case here.

Bruce King said...

Powdery: I didn't understand the whole fiction of "dusty bottoms" either. I wrote a review of his book "The farm dreams guide to profitable homesteading" where I pointed out that he'd never turned a profit and linked back to his farm, and he got my review banned from amazon for "releasing non-public information" -- the fact that Tim and Liz Young are dusty bottom, etc.

Tim very clearly wants to be a voice for agriculture and has worked hard to put his message out there. I strongly disagree with some of the stuff he's promoted, and I think it's fair to say that there are many other people who feel the same way -- look at the reviews of Accidental farmers on amazon. When folks actually look at what he has done with animals there's often a pretty strong reaction.

When you read his blog the first couple of years are great. And then he falls off the rails and the trainwreck isn't very pretty.

Bruce King said...

Emily: I completely agree with you. Transparency is helped when you can see a history. Obscuring what you've done in the past is not transparent.
Every blog entry I have ever written is online, and for the most part unedited. When I do edit it, I use [square braces] and date the edit so that it's obvious what was there originally, and what is new.
I invite people to be skeptical and question and I publish people who disagree with me all the time.