Family History – The Farm in Alsted Mark

OUR SON CHRISTIAN CONTRIBUTED THIS STORY.

 

My great grandfather founded his family farm in the 1920’s in Alsted Mark, just outside Vonge, Denmark. There, 20 miles from Billund (later the birthplace of the world’s largest toymaker Lego Group in 1932), he and my great grandmother raised 7 of their children and an adopted son on 23 acres. A few things strike me as interesting about this family farm:

First of all, the farm fed and financed the rearing of 8 children, meanwhile employing the two proprietors plus 2 male and 2 female apprentices, all on 23 acres. That’s 14 total people, or 1.6 acres per person.

Secondly, it was farmed according to organic principles, by default. (Nobody had considered chemical fertilizer until it became a by-product of bomb manufacturing during the Second World War.) Thus, fertility and bug control must have been supplied by the resident pigs, chickens and milk cows. In the same fashion, the operation never included a tractor; horsepower came from two Belgian beasts, obviously powered by grass. It’s fair to assume that the operation was also “carbon neutral.”

And lastly, little money was spent on education. That’s not to say that education wasn’t happening, only that it came from experience instead of universities. Through a formal system of apprenticeship, young men and women could learn the trade under the guidance of a “master,” while performing valuable work.

The farm in Alsted Mark operated this way at least until 1955, when my father remembers visiting as a youth. Forty-five years later, he went on to found the Six Sigma Ranch you see today.

Now we have a few more acres, a handful of tractors, and a California climate that fortunately supports wine grapes. But the basic idea of Six Sigma Ranch is the same as the farm in Alsted Mark: A focus on combining great people with great farming, and celebrating the products that grow from that partnership.



Christian Ahlmann

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