Joyful Wren Farm is a partnership between sisters, Anna Thomson Owens and Laura Thomson.
As children in the 80’s, we spent summers with our grandparents. We would sit near the drop-leaf kitchen table by the big bay window. We would eat homemade chocolate cookies, watch the birds at the feeders, and listen as our grandparents solved problems and planned for the farm. Grandpa would get out a yellow, legal pad and sketch out a diagram. Grandma would make lists with what needed to be done and deadlines, including what everyone would eat. Mornings were spent weeding and doing chores. Afternoons we read by a fan or played in the yard in the hot summer, hoping someone would share popsicles.
Fast forward multiple decades, and as adults ourselves, we sat drinking coffee in Oregon enjoying the NW beauty and talking about Anna’s work farming and how to get land. Instead of the legal pad there was a dry erase board. But over multiple conversations, the plan evolved into moving back to family land to begin a Market Farm in Champaign, IL. Balancing the draw of Northwest weather and friends on one hand vs. the opportunity to reconnect with our land, focus on restoring the soil health, take care of aging buildings, and spend time with our family and friends in central Illinois, we ended up coming home to our corn-fed roots.
Summer 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, we moved back–Laura with 2 kids and Anna with her 3–and jumped in with boots on. Since then we’ve been planning and problem-solving the conversion of 2 acres of corn stalk-stubbled land into a small-scale intensive vegetable farm.
Now we sit on the concrete front steps in the morning sun and drink coffee together. The work is on. We are building a foundation to support our families, our friends, and our community. We have started living our dream of feeding people locally, raising our kids, and working to maintain our principles: be humane, be sustainable, and work towards a long-term vision.
Thank you for your interest in our farm. We hope you are healthy and eating well.
Anna & Laura Thomson