Aaron Fletcher has been a nomadic shepherd for about a decade, but more recently he has settled down as a land sitter, running what is probably the country’s smallest viable farm.When we first met Aaron a couple years ago, he and his sheep would pull his wagon home 5 to 10 miles every day in search of greener pastures. He sleeps and rests in his mini wagon, while his sheep “guerrilla graze”: eat roadside weeds and trim vacant lots and yards (with permission).
source.image: Kirsten Dirksen
Wanting to use his abundant milk, and generate a small economy for himself, Aaron invested in an ice cream maker, three mini fridges and a solar battery. This extra weight required larger animals to pull the wagon so Aaron tried out a donkey. Recognizing that equines are too big and dangerous for such close quarters, Aaron now plans to re-home it and buy a human harness to help pull the wagon himself.
While he waits for a harness to pull his heavier wagon, Aaron is farm-sitting for a city-dwelling land owner. Here there are plenty of fresh eggs and the calm to invent new systems for his micro mobile farm.
Aaron says his main job is juggling milk: to “balance year-round cheesemaking outdoors, on the go, with no refrigeration.” He’s worked out a system so when milk is most plentiful he makes butter and big cheeses, when he’s getting about 3 cups per milking, he makes ice cream and when he is milking under 3 cups per milking, he makes kefir and single batch fresh cheese.