• Rene Hopkins | Episode 22 | A Desert Oasis

May 02, 2017 2 Comments

On a visit to warm and sunny desert climate of Southern California, I had the pleasure of visiting a small farm, filled with animals and love right in the heart of the city. FarmHer Rene Hopkins was born and raised on the very property where she lives with her husband still today. In fact, she lives in the house she was raised in. Her family lived in the area back when it wasn’t in the city, but they stayed as the town grew up around them. What is left of the property is a handful of acres, hidden away from the street

As I pulled into Rene’s home, it quickly became clear that this FarmHer has everything she needs, just steps from her back door. Rene explained that her day starts every morning about 4 in the morning when she is up before the sun to start feeding all of the animals around her farm.  She had waited for me to arrive that day and everyone was hungry and letting her know it.  

She started by feeding her beloved horses bags of hay, explaining that she uses the bags to give them some exercise while they eat, to mimic what they might do when grazing in a pasture.  She also gave each one a tray of sprouted grain.  She grows the grain in a seed to feed system that allows her to grow fresh food for her animals, even in the middle of the desert.  From there she fed the donkeys and cleaned the animals pens.  Next up, she took care of the few goats that she keeps, then on to the chickens and other poultry to collect the daily eggs.  From there we stopped to say good morning to her desert tortoises, feeding them some fresh lettuce.  She explained that the slow moving creatures had been on the farm for about 21 years since they were babies.  It took them a minute to warm up, and it took me more than a minute to warm up to them.  

After most of her animal chores were done, Rene finished up her duties by loading up her wagon and hooking it up to her Mahindra tractor to spread the manure out in the back lot.  She then hooked up a drag to the back of her UTV and we drove out to drag the dirt in her riding arena, smoothing it out so she could work her horses in the arena later.  Last, but definitely not least, Rene got out her two donkeys and carefully hooked them up to a harness for her cart.  She and her husband regularly take the donkeys out for a ride in one of the many carts Rene owns.  The couple takes the horses and donkeys to parades and other events up and down the west coast, participating in events for the sport they love.  They ride right around town many nights a week, enjoying the city from atop their cart.  

Once Rene’s morning at the farm is finished, she changes into scrubs and heads off to her day actually spends her days away from the farm, working as a Veterinary Technician.  She loves her job dearly, talking candidly about the animals she helps and cares for there.

It was a pleasure to meet Rene, a lifelong FarmHer and lover of animals, at the farm where she calls home.  Her love for each and every creature on the farm - from the big horses to the little desert tortoises is evident in her care and attention that she gives to them.  She has built a FarmHer’s dream, right in the heart of the city and has all of the tools of the trade at her fingertips to make her dream an everyday reality.  

See a video of Rene's turtles here

2 Responses

Chris and Karen
Chris and Karen

May 06, 2017

Rene is an amazing farmHer as well as an incredible person. We love Rene and Kenny dearly. Thanks for sharing her with others.


May 05, 2017

First time commenting but I love this series! It’s so important to continue agriculture and shining a light on women! Thank you Marji!

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