Jim and Lisa Jenkins built Sunshine Farms on a 12-acre slice of land and dedicate their time to maintaining their self-sustainable farm in the backroads of Montgomery.
The Jenkinses are trying to revive a “dying art” lifestyle on their farm, Jim said, by raising numerous farm animals and harvesting rainwater for their aquaponics system to water their garden and greenhouse.
“The farm is meant to be the way things used to be,” Jim said. “In the past, you used everything you had.”
The couple opened the farm to the public in 2009, inviting people of all ages to their home to buy their home-grown produce, cage-free eggs, and Lisa’s natural skin and home care line. Visitors can take a guided tour through the couple’s flourishing garden, feed the farm’s many animals and ask questions about how to live off the land at their own home.
“Some people come to us and say, ‘I want to get off the grid,’ and it has nothing to do with that for us,” Jim said. “For us, it is about getting the highest-quality products for ourselves and our friends and our families.”
Although Jim spent most of his life living in Houston working for the Houston Police Department, he never lost the urge to follow his grandparent’s footsteps and live sustainably off the land.
Jim purchased the Montgomery property in 2000 as a vacant plot of land, and for the first three years there, he inhabited a 128-square-foot shed that barely had enough space for a refrigerator, a microwave and a cot.
The property also serves as headquarters for Lisa’s natural skin and home care line–also named Sunshine Farms–which uses all-natural ingredients to create handmade lotions, soaps, bug sprays and room fragrances.
“I have reached a point where I know what I am doing [when creating my products], and I do not want to be influenced by anybody else’s thoughts or trends,” Lisa said.
Lisa left her career as an insurance sales representative in Midland to marry Jim in 2004, and focused her attention on expanding the garden. She soon learned to concoct natural soaps and lotions from her kitchen. In 2006, the couple started to offer Lisa’s skin care products, produce from their garden and fresh eggs to local farmers markets.
Now, Lisa’s skin and home care line is sold in local retail stores and on the farm’s website. To help give back to the community after Hurricane Harvey, the Jenkinses pledged to donate 20 percent of online purchase sales for one week to Harvey relief.
Although the road to unearthing their dream farm was long, the Jenkinses encourage visitors to get their hands dirty and emulate the lifestyle.
“Grow something for your own satisfaction,” Jim said. “Show yourself that you can do this [lifestyle]. You will find that it is not all that difficult.”
5800 Jackson Road, Montgomery
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.