A fourth generation of family farmers incorporate sustainable practices in hopes of helping others better understand their source of food.
Alexa and Jacob Newton wake up before sunrise every morning to complete their daily chores – ones that help to feed more than 250 families in Central New York.
Based in Truxton about 25 miles south of Syracuse, Hillside Farms is layered with history, hard work and passion. As the fourth generation of family farmers since buying the property in 2017, the Newtons are sustainably raising livestock and poultry at a time when industrial farming and processed food have become the norm.
The Newtons sell their food directly to about 250 customers interacting with them weekly at the CNY Regional Market or their farm for tours so that they can see exactly how the livestock is being raised.
While the couple approaches their farming practices through regenerative agriculture – grazing cattle on the range, making and harvesting hay and replenishing the soil – that is far from the standard in America.
According to Science Institute estimates, 99 percent of livestock in 2019 were factory-farmed in which there are tightly controlled and constrained conditions for animals. Industrial farming emphasizes increased product and higher yields typically relying on pesticides, fertilizers and fossil fuels for constant upkeep.
The Newtons said their approach demonstrates how nutrient-rich food can and should be the norm just as it was when Alexa’s family originally purchased Hillside Farms in 1941 and hope their commitment is producing meats that Jacob refers to as the “building block of life.”