Q&A: Josh McCullock - Modern Farmer

Q&A: Josh McCullock

Josh McCullock, our latest #iamamodernfarmer contest winner, talks with us about his family's multi-generational family farm and the influence of Wendell Berry on his thinking.

“During that time I started reading Wendell Berry, which lead to Michael Pollan, then Joel Salatin, Mark Shepard, and Hank Shaw,” says McCullock. “Those writers really changed how I looked at the cost of cheap food and the degenerative systems that we all rely on.”

McCullock, his wife, and two sons, lived in an Airstream for a year while he built their house. Now they, and McCullock’s parents, his siblings, and their families, are working 15 acres of mixed pasture and oak timber just north of Oklahoma City. At Wild Hill Family Farm they raise rabbits, laying hens, laying ducks, pastured broilers, and pastured hogs, and also have a market garden.

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When McCullock isn’t busy on the farm, he’s traveling the country as a freelance photographer and, through his work with a local food-related magazine, has met other producers, who, like his family, are “creating honest, incredible food” for the region.

Modern Farmer: Why do you consider yourself a modern farmer?

Josh McCullock: I guess you could call me a “modern farmer” because when I have a question I’m much more likely to search YouTube or the Permies forum than go to the library. I think I enjoy this for the same reason my grandparents enjoyed growing food: the connection to what you are eating. They’re different methods, but the same goal.

MF: Why is it important to you to support local agriculture?

JM: From a health perspective, I’d rather eat things that were grown close to me. From a communal perspective, I have way too much respect for the producers around me to go buy food from anywhere else.

MF: If you could grow or raise any food or animal, what would it be and why?

JM: I’d really love to try and grow hops someday. It seems like a ridiculously labor intensive thing, but we have a really great local craft beer scene and I love the idea of drinking a beer with my hops in it.

MF: What’s your favorite vegetable?

JM: By sheer percentages that would have to be garlic.

MF: If you could give other modern farmers any advice, what would it be?

JM: I’m certainly not one to be giving advice, but the best advice I would have is to keep good records. I use the Evernote app to track expenses, make material lists, etc. It’s pretty great.

MF: Do you have a farming/agricultural hero? Why do you admire them?

JM: How about a twofer on this one? Speaking big picture, Wendell Berry’s thoughts in Bringing It to the Table really resonated with me. He highlights so many deeply important connections with our land and our food that we have lost over the years. On a practical level, John Suscovich of Camps Road Farm and his work with Farm Marketing Solutions has been so helpful to someone like me in getting started.

Want a chance at an interview with Modern Farmer and other cool prizes? Just post a picture or a video on Twitter and/or Instagram with the hashtag #iamamodernfarmer and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. Every week, we’ll choose one winner to be profiledonModernFarmer.com. Every month, one of the weekly winners will be picked to win $100 in Modern Farmer swag. One of the monthly winners will also win the grand prize: A VIP trip for two to the Farm Aid 2016 concert!

Added bonus: If you purchase an “I am a modern farmer” t-shirt, you’ll stand in solidarity with the hardworking men and women who produce our food. You certainly don’t have to don the shirt to post and have a chance to win, but with sales of these tees, Modern Farmer supports independent farmers with a donation to Farm Aid.

Need inspiration? Check out all the #iamamodernfarmer posts from across the country – and around the world!

See official contest rules here.