Broken Shovels, USA
Andrea transformed her Dairy Farm into a Sanctuary School
Andrea Davis got involved with goat dairy through a dairy internship that would result in her learning the business inside and out. Through her internship she became familiar with some of the industry’s most unsavory practices. She would rescue goats that she couldn’t bear seeing go to slaughter. Andrea raised these goats by hand on some abandoned land that she was able to fix up so she could pasture her animals on it. In 2011, she founded her own “slaughter-free” dairy where she worked hard to avoid and create work arounds for the practices she found morally abhorrent. She bred her milking goats with dwarf goats in order to create smaller, cuter offspring that she could give away as pets. She built a robust artisanal cheese business that was highly sought after in her Colorado region and instantly picked up by a fine foods distributor. During this period she was not interested in veganism, despite being a 20 vegetarian. She did her best to create a dairy based around the very best practices she could.
“Within the first couple years, there were many enlightening moments that drew me further and further from dairy and I found many cracks in my ideas that I could change the industry from within. Having a clearer view of long-term relationships and animal families, it was no longer a satisfactory answer to breed goats to produce milk and eventually rehome their children, even into pet homes, and feel that I was doing my best good.”
However it was not enough for her eventually and she started joining vegan groups on Facebook and watching the PSA-style videos put out by animal activist organizations. More research into the environmental impact of animal agriculture and its effect on world hunger led her to veganism and in 2014, Andrea and her staff went vegan and began to immerse themselves in vegan philosophy. Andrea slowly and with much thought ended her animal operations and is raising money and planning her transformation into a Sanctuary School. The Sanctuary School will be a nature-based day school for 3-5 year old children, with a focus on service and care for the farm’s animals as well as respectful observation of nature.
FARM & TRANSFORMATION FACTS
- Broken Shovels Farm was named for the first abandoned property that Andrea fixed up to rehome her original rescued animals. The property was in disrepair and she found a number of broken shovels on it. The broken shovels became a symbol to her of the hard work required in farming and service to animals.
- Her farm is located 12 minutes outside of Denver, Colorado.
- Andrea is currently raising money to open the Sanctuary School.
- She has listed her used cheese equipment for sale to finance the opening of the school.
- Broken Shovels Farm is only 10 acres and now houses 250 animals. In addition to her herd of goats, there are also a whole farm full of rescued animals including 9 cows, 30 waterfowl, 75 additional farm birds (partridges, chickens, turkeys), 16 pigs, 2 sheep, a mini mule, a mini-pony and a mini donkey.
- Broken Shovels has 12 volunteers that each work approximately 4 hours weekly, as well a part-time intern and a full-time live-in farm manager.