By: Jack M.
Paul and Leslie Spell are the husband and wife owners and operators of Humble Heart Farms in northern Alabama, near the Tennessee border, and they’re moving, along with their 14-year-old son, to join some friends in Costa Rica. Rather than just sell the farm, they’re running a contest to see who can write the best 200-word essay, explaining why they should take over. The contest began a few weeks ago and ends on October 1st of this year. There is a $150 fee that must accompany each entry, and the winner will be announced shortly after the closing date. The Spells expect no less than 2,500 entries, but if fewer than this are received, all monies will be fully refunded. So, if running a small farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is your ideal way of escaping the madness of modern times, and you don’t have the upfront funds to do it by yourself, this just might be the chance of a lifetime. The contest is open to anyone over the age of 19, and details can be seen here.
Paul and Leslie, along with their 14-year-old son, have lived and worked on Humble Heart Farms for ten years.
And what exactly does the winner get? A 20-acre working organic farm that specializes in goat milk products—mainly flavoured cheeses and frozen desserts; plus 55 goats that are affectionately referred to as the “girls,” processing facilities, a three-bedroom house, one month of training and $20,000 cash. And perhaps most importantly of all, the business itself is mature and has a steady customer base. The farm, house and all facilities are debt-free.
But what about experience, you might ask? Before buying the farm, Paul was in the advertising business, and Leslie was a stock broker. As Paul himself says, “This is a job that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn, but you do have to be willing to learn and do research. We had virtually no training before we took this over. And even after the month’s training is complete, this is a situation where we’re always a phone call away, forever.”