I spent a couple of nights doing chores on a free range chicken egg farm. You can too.

In the northern reaches of Minnesota, there’s not much other than big forests, a handful of towns, and farms. However, there are a few places of beauty in locations one might not expect. For example, Jay Cooke State Park features the St. Louis River, a flow of water that has numerous waterfalls and rock features that eventually lead to Lake Superior. There’s also the entirety of the North Shore, a large portion of which is made up of cliffs and views of the largest of the Great Lakes. Aside from these examples, it’s also possible to find beauty in the idea of sustainability. The mission of the Locally Laid Egg Company is a perfect example of this beauty, and you can experience it.

Roughly thirty minutes west of Duluth, you’ll find a driveway marked by a giant metal rooster. Once you pull in, the land is unassuming, with its three coops and seemingly small space, but you’ll find out where you are after you see the large Locally Laid logo on a water tank not far off. This is where the Locally Laid Egg Company started its business with a model of growing chickens free range instead of in efficiency-driven warehouses. The chickens here are let free to roam their pasture, occasionally checking back into their coops before heading back out to greet any person who might come to the fence. With this concept of a free range model, the Locally Laid chickens are able to live healthier, happier, and overall better lives while still producing eggs for consumption.

The Locally Laid logo printed on a water tower

Locally Laid recently made a couple of additions to the farm that allow the consumer to experience directly where their eggs come and help out with a few farm chores to keep things running smoothly. The two stays on site, aptly named “AirB-n-BAWK!,” provide for a farm stay like no other. For the entirety of our trip, I stayed in “The Perch,” a small house on stilts that overlooks the berry fields of the farm. The second stay, called “The Nest,” is a smaller, three-person room with a bunk. It’s located within the pasture, and shares a plexiglass wall with one of three chicken coops.

The experience we had was surreal for an Airbnb stay. Every night just before 10 o’clock, we were allowed to help the chickens into their coops and make sure each door was locked tight for the night. Each morning at 5:30, we were invited to wake them and unlatch the doors for the day. No other experience that I’ve ever had can be compared to this one. The simple idea of getting to see where the eggs are sourced then seeing Locally Laid egg cartons at grocery stores back home is incredibly inspiring, and paves the way for deeper thinking into how we source our food.

Even though the pasture might seem relatively small, it is, once again, an inspiration to those who visit. With some work, the idea that a feat like this one can be done is thought provoking. What can we do to create a healthier society and environment, simply starting with how we get our food?

What can you do to find sustainable food options as a consumer? Would you visit the Locally Laid egg farm?