“I am not your typical farmer.” That’s the first thing John Moody says when he introduces himself.
In fact, Moody doesn’t consider himself typical in anything. The author of five books on the subject of farming and homesteading, Moody and his wife Jessica are determined to spread the news about the merits of real, honest food and the health benefits that result. (“One fun fact,” he adds. “I am a green belt in judo and performed multiple times in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”)
Moody’s interests all started with his diet. “I grew up a standard American of the 1980s,” he relates. “That meant a steady diet of cartoons, video games, and processed foods. I had enough antibiotics as a child to qualify as my own CAFO animal operation. I took enough Benadryl that the company sent me free stock options at the end of each year as a thank you.”
The funny thing was Moody grew up healthy. Sort of. “I thought I was healthy,” he admits. “But when I developed duodenal ulcers in my early 20s, something clicked. I went down the entire rabbit hole, completely changed our diet and approach to food. It healed my ulcers, allergies, and more.”
Eventually John and his wife Jessica purchased land and relocated to outside the city proper. The rest, as they say, is history.
The real-food rabbit-hole led Moody from one road to another. Before leaving the city, he started the Whole Life Buying Club in the Louisville, Kentucky area to get real local food from farmers to city dwellers – which turned into one of the largest food co-operatives in the nation. After moving rural, he served as the executive director of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which defends farmers and consumers against government action to restrict their ability to grow and consume real food. He became the CEO of Steader, an online video-based learning platform that brings practitioners to guide and inspire those who find the joy in raising and growing their own food.
Moody continues to cross the urban-rural divide by bringing city dwellers ideas to access fresh, unprocessed foods, including what they can harvest themselves. “Consider elderberries,” he says. “They used to be everywhere, and now they’re making a comeback in edible landscapes. The health benefits are amazing.”
For those longing to establish their own homestead, Moody is an expert on how to do it on a dime. His book “The Frugal Homesteader” profiles dozens of families who successfully transitioned to their own rural dreams.
Now the father of five kids, the Moody children love their lifestyle. “My oldest said she wouldn’t live anywhere else even if we paid her,” laughs John. “Their friends generally love it when they come out here.” The one challenge the Moodys face is the lack of homeschoolers and other homesteaders in their area, so they’re planning on relocating to a place with more like-minded folks.
A popular speaker and presenter at conferences – as well as an established author – Lehman’s is pleased to welcome John Moody as a blog contributor. His specialty is soils, weed management, elderberry uses, and general homesteading information. “Basically, how to get far more accomplished as a homesteader with less expense,” Moody sums up, “in terms of time, energy, and money.”
In short, Moody is a “new” blogger for Lehman’s but an old friend to the homesteading community. Stay tuned for John’s frugal rural wisdom in future blog posts.
Editor’s Note: This interview was first posted May 2020.