Vilicus Farms officially started from scratch in 2009 when Doug and Anna purchased 1,280 acres of Northern Great Plains prairie off the open market with 20 years of savings and lots of hutzpah. The vision for Vilicus began years earlier when Doug, whose family’s grain farm in Ohio had been lost in the farm crisis of the 1980’s, began looking for a viable way to return to farming. Without the existence of a traditional family farm base, options were limited. In 2005, Doug and Anna recognized the emerging opportunities in the organic market and began drafting their vision of a model organic farm that would push the boundaries of conservation and sustainability.
Anna and Doug developed the vision for Vilicus Farms over 30-plus years of involvement in and observation of North American agriculture. The name, Vilicus Farms, was chosen thoughtfully. In Latin, there are two words for the English term “farmer.” The first, agricola, refers to one who labors on the land. Agricolae were essentially farm-laborers who were often slaves in ancient Rome. The other term, vilicus, is literally translated “steward of the land.” A vilicus was the overseer of a Roman estate, who managed the land, facilities, and staff with an emphasis on maintaining the long-term productivity of the land. While vilici were often freed-slaves, they were held in high regard by the landowners and by Roman society.LEARN MORE