Elena Bilheimer, EcoNews Journalist
Located in the foggy bottoms of the Eel River Valley, Foggy Bottoms Boys Farm offers local, nutrient dense-food and products created by Thomas and Cody Nicholson Stratton and their son (nicknamed Tiny Farmer). Cody’s family has been farming in the area for six generations, and everyday four generations continue to work side-by-side learning from each other. This includes Cody’s grandparents, his parents, Thomas and Cody, and Tiny Farmer. Thomas’ family also comes from Tillamook and Gresham Dairy farming communities.
Ten years after their first meeting, Cody and Thomas got married and decided to return to Cody’s family farm with the intention of increasing education about regenerative farming. They started by expanding the farm’s animal and dairy operations to include rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats and grass-fed beef. This has allowed them to sell yarn, wool blankets and dryer balls from their sheep’s wool, in addition to home decor and apparel. As part of their goal to further education, they offer barnyard experiences where interested parties can come to the farm and engage through three different opportunities. These experiences allow guests to sample the local food and ask the farmers any questions about agriculture and their lifestyle.
“When looking at the farm as a whole, I realized that we could bring more education, more profit, more functionality and more efficiency through the use of the ground that we have, by stacking enterprises,” said Thomas. “So utilizing sheep and beef and chickens alongside the dairy cows to regenerate the soil. And that’s our focus now. As an organic dairy, we treat the animals as well as the land in the best way that we possibly can. But regeneration is the idea that it’s the environment as well as the community providing that support, meaning that we actually will utilize compost or waste from our community to build our soil, therefore reducing the waste that’s going into landfills and feeding the microbiome community underneath the grass.”
This focus on regeneration and blending of enterprises is obvious with their grass-fed beef, as their beef cattle spend a lot of time grazing on dairy cow pastures. Dairy cow pastures have a very large diversity of plants, including soil feeding legumes, which provide a different type of nutrition for the cows beyond grass. The end result is higher quality beef, with more marbling and beta-carotenes. Cody and Thomas bring this attention to detail to all of the animals they raise, including their sheep, which are specifically chosen for their small microfiber wool in order to ensure softness for the yarn and blankets. Cody particularly loves the sheep for their unique personalities, while Thomas loves their chickens because they resemble little dinosaurs.
Beyond incorporating more animals and handmade goods into the farm’s stock, Cody and Thomas have been continuing their mission to educate and connect with people through social media. Utilizing Thomas’ degree and experience in marketing and business administration and Cody’s knowledge of farming and knack for creating TikTok videos, they have been continuously growing their influence to reach a broad network of people throughout the world. Part of the reason they are interested in spreading the word about what they do is because of the loss of farming land in the U.S.; in the 1950’s, approximately 50 percent of the population were getting their livelihood directly from a farm, in comparison to less than 1 percent in 2022. A lot of this is due to the consolidation of agriculture, but Cody and Thomas are hopeful that number can be brought back up through advocacy and awareness.
“We want to advocate for agriculture,” said Thomas. “And we want to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in agriculture. When we started doing this work online we realized that people from all over the country, all over the world, were reaching out to us and stating, ‘We didn’t think we had a place in agriculture’. Whether it was their home farm or whether they didn’t have a farm at all, they wanted to engage in agriculture and they just felt like it wasn’t possible. Because of the stigma, or the challenges, or the frustration, or just the hard knocks of it. And so we realized then that we needed to become the best advocates that we could, not only for regenerative and organic farming, but for making sure that there was a place for those that wanted to participate in farming but were different from the typical, pale, stale and male agriculturists and agronomists.”
Both Thomas and Cody wear many hats in addition to their roles on the farm and social media. The variety of tasks keeps their lives interesting and fulfilled. “I never have to work,” said Thomas. “It’s just so darn fun. And the cool part is that the fun is accomplishing a lot.” If community members are interested in purchasing any products from Foggy Bottoms Boys, you can find everything on their website, foggybottomboys.com, including meat and eggs (there is an option for local delivery), or find their eggs at most of the grocery stores in Humboldt. In addition to the products already mentioned, the farm will soon offer dog waffles made from eggs that are cracked, malformed, or otherwise can’t be utilized for retail. They also plan to release jewelry made from their yarn as a way to spread awareness about the way their sheep and the regenerative farming techniques that feed them help capture carbon from the environment. Additionally, they will be launching a fundraising campaign in the near future to offer 100,000 Free tours to school aged children. Stay tuned!
For people who live out of the area, there is the option to have some of their merchandise shipped. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok and share the posts with your friends and family.