Sarah Ratliff, Corporate Escapee Turned Organic Farmer in Puerto Rico
Name: Sarah Ratliff
Occupation: Corporate refugee turned eco-organic farmer, Writer, Activist, Serial entrepreneur and published book author
Place of Residence: Utuado, Puerto Rico
Background: 20 years into serving a lifetime sentence in corporate America, Sarah and her husband, Paul, abruptly quit their jobs (where they had been working for Amgen — the world’s largest biotech firm), moved to the interior of Puerto Rico, and bought an 18-acre farm.
Both had been struggling with health issues, but Sarah’s were, as her doctor put it, “…classic stress symptoms you’re ignoring. If you keep up this lifestyle, you won’t see your 45th birthday.”
At the time, Sarah was 41 and Paul was close to turning 45. Knowing nothing about farming, having only four friends in Puerto Rico and between them speaking only 10 words of Spanish, the two figured they could pick up what they needed to know and meet new people after they landed on the U.S. territory island in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean.
They arrived with their two cats and today, they have four dogs and 15 cats, grow fruit trees from around the tropical world and bamboo, and raise dairy goats and chickens and ducks for eggs. Everything but the dogs and cats were planned for, but such is part of the charm of the island dubbed la Isla del Encanto. (The Enchanted Island.)
How they went from not knowing anything about farming to understanding enough to write about it twice a month for MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the result of research, trial and error, and asking the many agriculture friends they’ve made.
Because the goal with their farm, which they named Mayani Farms (after one of their two “starter” goats) is to be self-sustaining (versus selling anything), to keep the farm going, Sarah is a freelance writer.
Sarah’s favorite genres to write about are:
Gender and race advocacy
Addiction and mental health
Health and medical
Writing for MOTHER EARTH NEWS fulfills one of Sarah’s bucket list wishes. One other on her bucket list was to complete and publish at least one book. In September 2015, she was able to fulfill that dream as well when her co-authored anthology, Being Biracial: Where Our Secret Worlds Collide was published.
If you are interested in learning more about Sarah, please visit her website: Sarah Ratliff
Current Projects: Now that Paul and Sarah have made hurricane-proof shelters for all the animals, planted most of the trees they need to feed both themselves and their animals, and the bamboo is tall enough to provide shade as well as a living fence along the road, 2017 is about finally painting both the interior and exterior of their home and hanging pictures.