ABOUT THUNDER ROAD FARM
Located north of Missoula in the Jocko Valley, on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in the ancestral territory of the Salish, Kootenai, and Pen'd Orielle Tribes, Thunder Road Farm has been in continuous agricultural operation for nearly a century. Like that of many parcels of land in this region, the farm's story reflects the complex and unjust history of the American West. Following the Dawes Act of 1887, the farm passed from communal indigenous ownership into private hands. From 1920 on, the land was operated as a dairy and beef cattle ranch by a succession of families.
We moved to the property in 2018 and began the process of shifting toward regenerative grazing practices and ecological restoration. Our goal is to practice agriculture in a way that leaves room for native species and provides sustenance to our community.
LAND STEWARDSHIP AND CONSERVATION
Our goal is to produce healthy food in a way that improves, rather than diminishes, the ecological integrity of the land in our care. We use intensive rotational grazing to ensure that our pastures remain healthy and sequester carbon in the soil.
We also pursue ecological restoration projects on the farm, specifically reforestation. By planting native trees and shrubs in pastures that were cleared long ago, we make room for wild creatures to thrive in our corner of the Jocko Valley.
Gillian Thornton is an educator-turned-farmer who is passionate about place-based education and bringing students outdoors. She has taught at various institutions in Missoula, including the Clark Fork School and the Montana Natural History Center. In addition to her work on the farm, she works for the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO).
Bryce Andrews is a writer and conservationist, with more than a decade of experience running conservation-minded cattle ranches in Montana. He has written two award-winning books, Badluck Way and Down from the Mountain, and his most recent book, Holding Fire, was released in 2023. He also serves as the Field and Strategic Advisor for the nonprofit conservation group, People and Carnivores.