Grace, Flexibility, and a Good Night’s Sleep: Val Wilson’s Secrets of Success
The popular proverb, “if you want something done, ask a busy person” fits New Mexico native Val Wilson to a ‘T’. Wife to Grant, mother of two elementary school children, poultry and pig farmer, Director of Veterinary Operations for Animal Humane New Mexico and a newly minted Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute Board Member, Val does it all.
We caught up with Val as she and her husband Grant were named 2021 Farmer All Stars by the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute. “We feel very honored to be recognized as a 2021 Farmer All Star,” says Val. “We know how hard every farmer works and their dedication to providing food to our local community. The Santa Fe Farmers Market and Institute have always been incredibly supportive, so we are so appreciative for their continued support through this recognition.”
Earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, she reported that “I did take meat science courses, however I didn’t anticipate becoming a protein farmer and utilizing those skills.”
Val combines her studies in a unique way, forging the farming philosophy of Lotus Farms with her husband. “We believe in sustainable and humane practices on our farm. We believe that every animal deserves the right to thrive in their natural environment. Feeding our animals organically is also very important.”
She also believes her children benefit from growing up on an organic farm. “Our children fully understand the importance of raising our own animals for meat. They have learned that not all farming practices are created equally and that some models are not sustainable or healthy for our environment. Just as I learned from helping my parents with their small business over the years, they also know first-hand how much effort goes into running a small business and frequently help sell our product at the Market.”
More than 50% of the farmers participating in the Santa Fe Farmers Market are women. We asked Val if she had any insights or advice for women in agriculture about juggling so many facets of life successfully. Her immediate response – “Go to bed early and make lists! I’m a very organized person and I have a lot of to-do lists that are separated out by task. I think all women have an innate ability to be highly productive and efficient; I thrive in a chaotic environment but understand that’s not true for everyone. Some weeks everything is accomplished and other weeks the bare minimum. I think giving yourself grace and flexibility to complete tasks is important, especially as a farmer.”
With everything on her list, what motivated Val Wilson to join the Board of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute? “Having been employed for a nonprofit organization for over six years, I fully understand the importance of a well-rounded board of directors. I felt that my knowledge of protein farming and history of working in a nonprofit would bring a unique perspective to the board. I also realized that many farmers don’t have access to or know where to find resources. The same is true for the local community, as they do not know what resources are available to find local food.”