at was before a pack of pit bull terriers massacred his brood in December, leaving only about 15 from a high of about 80 chickens.
Now, Miller nurtures a new brood of chicks to replace those he lost.
"I’m at the point now, doing it for money is a whole separate thing,” he said. "I’m just trying to grow enough tomatoes that we can can them all and not have to buy tomatoes at Walmart all year.”
He cites concerns about the state of the industrial food system in America as a prime reason for adopting an organic lifestyle of subsisting off the land.
"It seems to me that when we have a food system that requires 10 calories of fossil fuel for every food calorie that we consume, and we’re currently at the world peak production for petroleum, that’s a problem,” he said. "So far, it’s been limited to other countries, but it’s coming to a theater near you, I think — the world’s problems with food.”
Eventually, Miller hopes to create a CSA (community-supported agriculture) operation in which consumers can buy shares of his crops.
But foremost is Miller’s devotion to nurturing his boys, who love to spend time on the farm.
"I can’t tell you how many times last summer we’d be out here working in the afternoon, and I’d take them in for dinner and they wouldn’t eat their dinner because they’d already been out here pulling tomatoes and whatever else out of the garden,” he said.
Still a philosopher at heart, Miller believes there is no more intimate relationship in people’s lives than the one they share with the food they eat. People spend far less time considering what they consume than they should, he said.
"There’s no more basic relationship to life than the food that goes into your mouth,” he said. "And people are so uncritical about it.”