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Casey County couple building ‘reality farm’

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By James Roberts
Landmark News Service

From the rice paddies of Cambodia to the squalor of Afghanistan, Geoff and Lindsey McPherson hope to open a few eyes.
The couple moved from Texas to Casey County a few years ago and started Good Life Ranch, a 160-acre self-sustainable farm located on the Taylor/Casey County line. Lindsey McPherson is a junior English teacher at Taylor County High School. Geoff McPherson is a substitute at TCHS.
“We’re trying to turn this into a sustainable-type farm with very little fossil fuel use,” Geoff McPherson said.
“He likes to do as much by hand as possible,” Lindsey McPherson said.
However, Geoff McPherson admits that has as much to do with capital as it does with his belief structure.
The McPherson farm boasts cows, chickens, goats, pigs, turkeys, ducks and rabbits. Save for the help of summer interns, the couple does all the farm work themselves.
On part of their farm, the McPhersons are building “Lifestyles Lane,” which recreates life in underdeveloped parts of the world.
The concept is modeled after Heifer International’s Global Village in Arkansas, which Geoff McPherson visited a couple of times when he was in school.
Kentucky is a perfect location for Lifestyles Lane, he said, because it is located within a day’s drive of Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and several other major cities.
Lifestyles Lane is still a work in progress and isn’t expected to be open to the public until 2013.
Once complete, the McPhersons will be able to accommodate groups from 10 to 150. China, India, Peru, Sierra Leone, Kenya, South Africa, Haiti, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Moldova, Afghanistan, Yemen and Sudan will be represented in Lifestyles Lane.
Children and adults will experience life in those countries, including the food, day-to-day activities and living conditions. There will be a fee, but the McPhersons haven’t determined what that will be just yet.
Once the experience is complete, Lindsey McPherson said, participants will have learned various facts about the country they simulated and about the affect of population expansion.
The McPhersons plan to offer one-, three- or five-day simulations.
Everything will be authentic with the exception of the restroom facilities. State law prevents them from re-creating that particular aspect of life in these countries.
“But it will still be less comfortable than [participants] are used to,” Lindsey McPherson said.
The McPhersons hope to conduct a test run this summer or fall.
The end result of Lifestyles Lane is to enlighten participants.
“We want them to understand how our choices in a developed world impact developing nations,” Lindsey McPherson said.
The McPhersons also want to arm participants with the knowledge to make positive changes in the world.
“We want to leave everyone not only feeling like they’ve learned something, but also to empower them to change the way the world lives,” Geoff McPherson said.