Laura Jensen—President of the American Meishan Breeders Association, Meishan Preservation lead activist, and is the principal operator at Jensen Reserve— a farm-based artisan foods producer and provider. Living and working just 43 miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two daughters, 4dogs, small flock of chickens, and dozens of Meishan pigs, Laura works completely hands on in these demanding fields, all of which require focused decision-making skills at every turn. As if that all were not enough, Laura represents a beneficial movement in the agricultural industry as she is one of the female principal operators who comprise just 14% of a predominantly male industry.
Laura’s rare position is informed by the active training she received growing up in northern North Carolina on her grandfather’s 60-acre cattle farm. There, fresh gardens produced enough food to feed Laura’s extended family as well as giving her community access to healthfully grown fruits and vegetables. Of this experience, Laura recalls “riding with my grandfather on a route with the bed of his truck fully loaded with vegetables we grew every summer." The memory profoundly affects her life and goals. Wisely choosing to provide her children with the same practical foundational experience, Laura and her husband Bill invested in their own working farm in 2013.