June 2009 Issue
Ohioan - Laura DeYoung
Environmental planner & conservationist
HOMETOWN: Born in Akron, DeYoung spent her teenage years studying in the English countryside, where she fell in love with the “mystique” of the sheep. Today, she lives in Peninsula.
PERSONAL: Her daughter Erika is 3, and her twin sons, Christian and Chandler, turn 12 this month.
UNIQUE DIGS: In 2007, DeYoung moved into her “dream home,” a 1914 farmhouse in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Formerly known as Garvey Farm, The Spicy Lamb Farm is part of the CVNP’s Countryside Initiative, which leases historic farm properties for modern sustainable farming.
GREEN PURSUITS: In addition to raising Dorset sheep for premium lamb, wool and hide products, DeYoung is working on a traditional herb garden, an organic orchard featuring apples, pears and plums, a pumpkin patch and a wildflower garden.
COUNTING SHEEP: The growing family at The Spicy Lamb now includes 14 ewes, one ram and six lambs, but DeYoung says she ultimately plans to have 40 ewes lambing 60 babies each year.
MORE THAN JUST A FARM: Education is a key component of the mission both on the farm and in DeYoung’s career as an environmental planner (she completed her doctoral program in Urban and Regional Planning at The University of Akron). “We want to empower people to make better decisions about land stewardship, to understand the importance of the cumulative impacts of each individual choice and to get personally involved,” she says.