The Collective

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As a group of women fostering connection through community, we aim to educate and inspire one another. Mindfully highlighting all things nature, food, and movement. We identify as educators, entrepreneurs, mothers, business owners, farmers, and more. We are health forward thinkers.We are The Collective.

Join us as we journey into the every day tasks of our local farmers. Connecting their work into meaningful lessons.


Thoughts and lessons we’ve learned while raising our next generation.

Come inside the kitchen of community influencers. We get intimate about habits, recipes, and their favorite culinary toys.

Seasonal blues got you down? we spill our favorite ayurvedic tips to help combat the muddy months of winter

The Collective Kitchen:

Come inside the kitchen of community influencers. We get intimate about habits, recipes, and their favorite culinary toys.

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the Chicken Butcher

I write this blog to be a pause in the storm; to document. The plan: go down to part-time Nursing work in order to spend two days a week working on the land. The goal: passively learn all about being a steward of the land, move my body, and meet people who rely on plants and animals. Incorporate what I learn to the art house I live at; chickens, Earth and metaphysical lessons. These sort of days will create a buffet-bounty of food for thought; all of which I would like to share, with you, in my monthly posting to The Collective.

I live in the Ozarks. I’m thirty. I’m a community health Nurse. I live in a 28 ft camper. I help run a local art house. I’m single. I’m in an all lady folk band. I’m scared almost half the time. I’m going to do it all anyways. 


It was a warm day in May. I cranked up the truck and boogied North to volunteer for the day at a family-run farm outside Springfield. They were known for selling butchered animal parts to local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Wild seeds hung in the air, blew into the truck. I was preparing for a 160-chicken-slaughter-kind-of-day.

“Does killing chickens make you uncomfortable?” Farmer Joe asked when I met them the week before, a meeting arranged so the couple could feel out if I was a nut. “I killed and ate off a deer this whole past year, I hunt, I eat what I kill,” I said point blank. “I’ve had backyard chickens, and they have all died from opossums, dogs, cats, or owls.” I’d been around death. After all, as Farmer Sally, Lady of The Farm, reminded him, I was a nurse.

The farm was down a gravel road, barns scattered about housing various animals. There was even a school bus used for housing chickens. A general store sat in the middle of the plot, cute and tidy, with hand painted letters on the door.

This family was some sort of religious, but in the wholesome we love one another and focus on service kind of way, and borderline on back-to-the-Earth-Libertarians. The couple did that thing that old people in love do, they catch eyes, they hold each other in little ways, they pay attention to the other. Their older daughter had traveled the country WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) , and then traveled Europe WWOOFing with her husband and their baby! We talked about birth politics, midwives, and food politics. Their younger daughter was fiercely independent. She was the one who stood at the beginning of the line and did the wiliest of the cutting. Farmer Joe glowed with pride, “She has the best hands for the job, better than anyone bigger or any man’s.” Their grand kids and church friends were there standing in a line passing the parts from hand to hand, carving and cleaning in stations.

We all laughed a lot about how it was a gamble meeting someone from the internet (since that’s how I found these wholesome farmers). I could be crazy, or they could be crazy! Then everyone would laugh in that maniacal way, under a plastic covered work area, wearing plastic aprons, pulling chickens apart to throw into a giant container of ice water.

Some Things Said & Learned:

“Don’t slit their throat, only their jugular veins, then put them in the cone upside down while they die. If you cut their throat they will suffocate and break their own bones struggling in the cone.”

“Hold them with both hands! Chickens are slippery!”

“When you clean the gizzard you have to be graceful with the knife, or the rocks will bust through! Chickens keep rocks in their gizzard to help with digestion.”

“Don’t bust the gallbladder! Green goo will go everyone and it tastes awful.”

“Separate the lungs, heart, gizzards, and necks. People eat/ use all those parts.”

We kept at it for 11 hours. Everyone descended into crankiness. It was the kind of crankiness which only family can settle into… where the humans become the chickens, pecking at one another. One of their church friends, a teenage girl, began having fainting spells that more and more resembled seizures. I caught her as she fell, ripped the plastic apron off her, got her out of the plastic sheeting overhead that was amplify the rays of the sun. I noticed scars on her sweet wrist from before she had been adopted. I assessed her, cooled her off, and talked with the family. They took her into town. They said God had sent me there, and I was meant to be with them. As a spiritually minded person, this always comes as a deep compliment. And I agreed, I was meant to be there.

Storms rolled in, and storms rolled out. The plastic sheeting whipped back and forth at our backs and rain fell sideways. And still we butchered.

At the end, I got back in the truck with a freshly butchered chicken to take home, and a bag of goodies. I was covered in dried chicken blood, and also by my own period blood (surprise!). I agreed to come back every week to learn about stewarding sheep, pigs, chickens, and cattle. I was very grateful for my time with this family.

Back in Springfield at least a hundred people were celebrating National Donut Day at Krispy Kreme. I joined the line that wrapped outside the building. My body felt like it was buzzing with 11 hours worth of learning. I thought of the sweet teenager who fainted from a possible eating disorder. I took half a dozen glazed beauties to a parking lot to talk the day out with my friend Sarah, who was parked there waiting to get a Grub Hub order for her to deliver. We passed the chicken parts back and forth, discussed the butchering process until it stuck into memory.

By: Brie Vonyo


Succeeding through the chaos

Photo by Ana Elliott

Photo by Ana Elliott

On Easter Sunday, I sat on my front porch with tea and a book in hand. One child was laying down for a nap while the other quietly played. This was the moment I envisioned when I decided to be a parent. The moment where your cup is full of joy (and a little caffeine) and you’re able to slow down enough to notice and enjoy a spring breeze. When your household is moving along the same current of life. Not choosing between one child swimming up river while the other is rafting away down stream, torn between who needs you the most at that very moment… all while you’re still trying to hold on to your tipped over canoe.

That juggle has been my common moment in recent months. Striving for harmony but settling in chaos. On the rough days where I feel everyone swimming in different directions, I feel ashamed and defeated by the “lack of _____”, lack of knowledge, lack of patience, lack of control… exhausted with my thought of, “someone else could do this better”. No matter how prepared I’ve felt for a situation, my children usually bring me something that pushes me to my edge. Challenging me to stay firm and breathe through it. This constant notion of adapting as a parent is simultaneously exhausting and stimulating.

The days that seem the longest have brought me the most growth as a parent. It is impossible to grow and change with out being challenged. Until you can accept being uncomfortable and vulnerable with yourself and your children, you’ll be stuck in the state you’re in. In Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she states, “The real questions for parents should be: "Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?" If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.” Once we expose our vulnerability with our children, we’re able to swim the current with them.

Parenthood will provide you with circumstances and experiences you have never dreamed possible. The amount of love and strength that runs through you is unimaginable. But we owe that strength and love to the moments that challenge us the most. As parents we’re in the ring… we’re bloody, worn out, and tired. It’s not the easy moments, drinking tea with quiet children, that allow you to expand as a human (those are just the moments that allow you to reflect). It’s in the ones that make you want to crumble and disengage. It’s the lowest and most difficult moments that the heroine experiences rebirth and emerges from her ashes.

“The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time… “ Brene Brown states. Because of this, I’m no longer striving for harmony but settling in chaos. Now, I’m striving for harmony but succeeding in chaos. And I can’t wait to see how I grow from it.