Next to Nature Farm is located in northeast Kansas, in between Lawrence and Kansas City. We are a small family farm committed to offering all of our products in their most natural form. Next to Nature Farm strives to ensure a line of the highest quality products with an environmentally friendly focus. The farm is owned by Chad and Megan Gilliland. However, this farm operation is a family adventure and everyone pitches in including 10-year-old son (known as the Itty Bitty Beekeeper)!
The farm will be open to the public for Friday and Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sundays (Noon to 6 p.m.). When planning your visit, make sure to prepare to be on a farm (wear comfortable shoes and casual clothes). We have goats, chickens, peacocks, bee hives, and a fantastically friendly goat dog named Sadie. At the agricultural and educational center, we will offer various classes and learning opportunities to find out more about bees, canning/preserving foods, pollinators, and small-scale agriculture. We will have a variety of products for sale, depending on the season. We are also home to "Kansas' only honey tasting bar" where you can try our delicious local honey, over a dozen varieties of infused and creamed honeys, and exotic flavors of honey from other regions.
In 2012, Chad wanted a few bee hives to pollinate his 80-apple-tree-orchard. This simple interest in pollination grew from an interest, to a hobby, to a full-time passion in just a few short years. After he began harvesting honey, he asked Megan if she could think of something to do with all of the beeswax leftover from harvesting honey. Megan's always been enthusiastic about using essential oils -- and our first product, Healing Salve, was developed. Since then, Chad and Megan have worked together to develop natural, handmade products that benefit our customers.
Our Farm Philosophy
Every customer is important to us and we strive to achieve complete customer satisfaction. An unhappy customer is a lost customer.
We have chosen not to use standard pesticides and take a “chemical free” approach with each and every one of our products. For example, in our fruit orchard for insect and disease control, we utilize pheromone and sticky traps for insect pest control, coupled with the use of soft products like horticultural oils and soaps. With regards to disease pressure, we have designed our orchard with the mindset of planting only fruit tree varieties with strong disease resistance.
With our flock of laying hens, we don’t incorporate the use of antibiotics for disease control or standard insecticides for parasite control. Instead incorporating the use of natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar, anise extract, sauerkraut, and pumpkin. Our laying hens are offered a fenced in pasture area to range and feed on vegetation and insects. With heavy predator pressure from coyotes and neighboring dogs, we have had to make adjustments and fence in our flock in a large 75’X 75” enclosure. This allows us to offer as close to a “free-range” option as possible with the laying flock having full access to a rotational crop of seeded grasses and other native vegetation and a wide complement of insects. This management practice offers us a healthy supply of farm fresh eggs with beautiful dark yellow-orange yolks that have a wonderful flavor and are such better quality than factory-farmed eggs from the grocery store.
Our passion for honey bees started in 2012 when we added 2 beehives to our farm to support the pollination of our farm’s fruit tree orchard. Fast forward to 2016 and we have currently 20 hives that supply us with a bounty of honey and beeswax that is used in many of our bee related products that we make.
We operate using sustainable methods. What does that mean to you? We are not Certified USDA Organic; however, the methods we utilize to produce our products for market are beyond the standard the government sets for certification. With our small family owned business, we have focused our limited resources on producing high quality products rather than the time, money, and effort to pursue certification. We have found over the years, our customers consistently comment on our high quality line of products.
We accept visits to our farm on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays right now (we want to expand hours based on demand and safety during the pandemic). We invite our customers to tour our farm and see for themselves how we create our products and learn about the value of bees, pollinators, and small-scale agriculture.