“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go….” these words, well sung by John Michael Montgomery, ring in my head as I think about my visit to The Dancing Goat and the FarmHer that runs the popular urban goat dairy, Pam Lunn. You see, 20 years ago Pam had no experience with livestock.
She worked in corporate America in her home in Tampa, Florida. Her husband convinced her to move to the edge of the city to an equestrian community where they purchased a house and three acres.
As her son grew he became interested in showing goats and Pam traveled with him across many states showing their beloved animals. Not too long after 9/11 hit, the economy went south along with the government contracts funding Pam’s job. She found herself looking to restart a career and to do that she looked to the goats.
The Dance of Life Begins
And so began the dance, The Dancing Goat dairy that is. Since then Pam has added more goats, chickens, ducks, banana trees, and soon even a pig to her farm. She built a barn, right there in the middle of an urban Tampa neighborhood. Then she built an adjoining guest house, which is the base of operations for The Dancing Goat.
It’s out of that guest house that she sells her popular goat milk, yogurt, cheese, and soap products.
As the farm has grown so has Pam’s need for help.
Volunteers at The Dancing Goat
A dairy requires constant work, not to mention the selling and marketing that has to occur in this small business. Pam has a steady stream of volunteers arriving at the farm, and I met a few during my time at The Dancing Goat. Volunteers that come to care for and play with the baby goats for her popular “nanny program.” The volunteers work to keep the “kid’s” pens clean, wash off their playground equipment, and also just plain play.
Skills to Last a Lifetime
Pam also has started a unique program training FFA kids in the intricacies of running a dairy, right in the middle of Tampa. She employs FFA kids who are looking to work with the animals for a variety of reasons; many of them are interested in going into veterinary science.
The kids volunteer at the farm in exchange for gas money, and the occasional bonus when they get good grades. Each kid must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to continue their work on the farm – work they love and strive to keep up with.
The day I was there three FFA girls arrived to trim hooves on goats, while another one worked to milk the goats. As I watched this young FarmHer with my camera it was clear that she loves what she does as she moved her steady hands through the detailed tasks.
Pam’s unexpected dance in life – starting, growing, and succeeding at her urban goat dairy, The Dancing Goat, was a pleasure to visit. It’s a joy to see this woman who recreated her career to find her passion in agriculture and exciting to see as she spreads her love to the next generation of FarmHers.