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Nothing chicken about this graduate

Okemah's Calvan Parker is on the road to success as he leaves high school but not the farm.
BY SHERREL JONES Modified: May 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm •  Published: May 22, 2013
/articleid/3828256/1/pictures/2095551">Photo - Calvan Parker of Okemah with his prized hen Ima Layer. <strong>SHERREL JONES - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Calvan Parker of Okemah with his prized hen Ima Layer. SHERREL JONES - THE OKLAHOMAN

The Parker farm is situated between Okemah and Cromwell, off Interstate 40. Every morning Calvan has a three-egg breakfast with his grandfather, who lives just across the road. Perhaps that explains some of practical real world wisdom this graduate has already attained. He doesn't just spout the sustainable lifestyle, this young Oklahoman lives it especially when it comes to poultry.

The cafe in the I-40 Travel Plaza saves their unusable lettuce leaves, tomato tops, cabbage, bread, carrots and egg shells for Ima Layer and her buddies. The chickens eat bugs and graze on pastures free of herbicides and pesticides. Calvan raises mealworms in the cellar during the winter so the chickens will have plenty of protein when the bug supply is low. This way, Calvan believes he is helping to save the earth “one egg at a time.”

In another sustainable venture, Calvan and a buddy of his took an old church bus with a totally rusted out floor and installed a plywood one in its place. They wired it to accommodate refrigeration and freezers for a farm to fork venture called “The Country Peddler.” Calvan and his mom travel to several farmers markets in the area. His mom teaches school and manages a beef cattle operation on the farm. Calvan's father passed away earlier this year.

‘My adventure'

Calvan summed things up best in a recent Oklahoma Food Cooperative newsletter: “My adventure … My dream ... My business isn't just about an egg! It's about each of us making a difference on our planet. I have had the opportunity to raise a high quality, nutritious egg for my friends and family. All the while I am learning valuable lessons in finding creative ways to recycle and reuse existing items.”

I've been blessed by spending some time with Calvan. Maybe in part it was the fact that I, too, used to gather eggs and have breakfast with my grandparents. His can-do attitude is part of the Oklahoma Spirit that drives him to a successful future one egg at a time that won't soon be forgotten.

Congratulations graduates! Opportunity is right here in Oklahoma, now come and get it.

Meanwhile, you can help support Calvan's college education by buying eggs from Calvan's Feathered Friends via the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Find his information online at and searching Calvan's Feathered Friends or by calling (405) 590-2822.


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