Our story begins in southwestern Wisconsin where we had been pursuing the American dream for 15 years. Both of us (Valerie and Kevin) were employed at the same organic cooperative. We built our dream house on 20 acres – 10 minutes from work and school and had many good years working to help grow the organic industry. It was rewarding to know our day-to-day efforts were ultimately helping to keep small farmers profitable and farming. The environmental benefits of organic agriculture also gave us pride in the work we were doing.
We witnessed many successful years of massive growth – fueled by a hard working group of individuals coordinated and focused on a shared mission. However, a reorganization effort fueled by new leadership slowly grew the cooperative into one gigantic bureaucracy. We started to witness coworkers struggling to perform work, waiting for permission in designed work queues, having their initiative squelched, and management wondering why tasks are so slow and expensive! Our frustration grew as this particular growing pain did not seem to improve over 3 years and our efforts to improve processes damaged relationships. The downturn in the dairy industry only added to our worry for the organization’s future.
We found ourselves quite limited in alternate job prospects near our home in rural Wisconsin. The debt from building our dream home was also significant. Moreover, we began to draw parallels in our frustration with the growth of our employer and the growth of our government. The tax burden grew increasingly burdensome with Wisconsin having all “standard” forms of taxation (income, property, and sales tax). We entertained the idea of giving up our entire investment in Wisconsin while searching for a location that aligned with our ideology. Was there a location where Libertarians were concentrating?
It didn’t take a whole lot of Googling to find the Free State Project. Shortly after that discovery, New Hampshire became top of the list if we were ever to give it all up and start anew. We began seeking out job opportunities in New Hampshire and eventually found Pete and Gerry’s Organics LLC in Monroe, NH. After an interview and job offer our life-changing option became a reality. We took it.
We arrived on July 11th to our new home in Littleton, NH, where a group of amazing Porcupines were ready to help us move in. Our connections with the North Country group formed very quickly. This group is very family friendly. There are a few individuals who actively communicate local events/opportunities and the monthly potluck meetup is well attended by the group. That particular meetup has become a priority for us. We experience it like a welcoming family dinner with a growing surrogate family.
Here we are – in October – very happy. We sold our dream home and land, the kids are adjusting well in school, and we feel fortunate to have found a community and livelihood which aligns with our ideology.
Chris has served as the Administrative Assistant for the FSP Team since 2012. An early mover in 2004, she uses her knowledge of the state and the liberty community to help visitors and movers network and build new lives here.