About Haven Farm(ers)
Hi! We are Jess and Andy Shaver, the founders of Haven Farm in Orange County, NC.
Haven Farm wants to bring more health and joy to the world, and contribute to healing land and soil by providing a life-giving product to our community. We invite you to join with us!
Fundamentally, we believe in the importance of land and soil stewardship, and the proper use of that land and forest for local community purposes. Grass and woodland management with animals is a very good way to do just that – if done right. We believe that the food and land use systems in America are broken and as result of that brokenness: humans are being deprived of health and joy; the land deprived of care; wildlife deprived of habitat; livestock animals deprived of a life as intended.
Here at Haven Farm, our practices reflect our convictions and the knowledge that change for the better is possible.
How did we get here?
Even though Andy is a Piedmont NC native, our route to farming here took us around the world, with our vision cultivated on East African soil and the arid rangelands in the Horn of Africa. We met and fell in love in Darfur, Sudan in 2007 while working in a conflict zone as humanitarian aid workers. In Darfur, we tried to grow a desert garden with friends, watched TV shows about homesteading and the environment, and began to get a glimpse of our future. We went on to work in other countries like South Sudan, Somalia and throughout East and Southern Africa. We worked on securing access to quality education for refugees and other displaced people, and supporting communities in war-torn countries to be self-reliant. Soon enough we were married with children in Nairobi, Kenya. Between not-so-glamorous job-related travels we expanded our farming practice by raising meat rabbits, laying hens and working a vegetable garden with our sons, Caleb and Silas. We lived in Africa for about 15 years, our final chapter there was together with the kids.
Increasingly we felt a pull to North Carolina to settle for the long haul and root our family in a local community. So, in 2016 we bought an old 25-acre farm in Orange County, NC, south of Saxapahaw and slowly fixed up the old home-place. Our dream, which had begun in Sudan nearly 10 years earlier, was to one day move from Africa to the farm permanently, inhabit the place, and bring it back to life as a resource in a community and country we could call Home.
Our first multi-species production year of premium pasture raised meat products in NC was 2020. We offer what we think is some of the best meat that money can buy - with occasional chicken and duck eggs, and a few value-added products.
Jess is the primary manager of our beef operation. Moving cattle on grass every day in right sized paddocks. Adjusting from her rural British roots where she grew up working on farms, Jess has learned quickly about the North Carolina climate and pasture context.
Andy is the primary manager of the omnivore species on the farm.
Caleb is responsible for the small flock of ducks and is an excellent general farm hand.
Silas is generally disrupting the more serious work around the place.
It is our hope that Haven Farm will not only provide the highest quality meat products to our community and beyond, but also to become a Haven in our part of North Carolina. We invite you to follow with us as we try to inhabit this land with a spirit of Hospitality, and listen to the voices around us to learn what purposes that Haven will evolve to have in addition to our current farm operation.