Kristina Van Aken of Mountain Grove, Missouri is the lunch lady at Mountain Grove High School. Her and her mother Paula raise Nigerian Dwarf goats. Photo by Eileen Manella.
Photo by Eileen Manella

Hometown: Mountain Grove, Mo.

In Town: Kristina Van Aken is a lunch lady at Mountain Grove High School. 

“I love it; I’m taking classes to be a teacher.” She is studying elementary education online through Western Governors University. She also has an interest in studying science and history. Her mother and farming partner, Paula Van Aken, is a retired teacher, having taught in Iowa.

Working in the cafeteria complements Kristina’s farming interests in the products of her animals, such as eggs and goat’s milk. 

In the Country: Kristina and Paula moved to Missouri from Iowa in 2016. Together they raise Nigerian Dwarf goats, among other animals, on their property, Blue Roof Farm. They began with horses, which they later sold to start their business in goats and chickens.

“I help manage the goat herd; I pretty much started it,” Kristina said. She was inspired to raise goats after viewing a group from Arizona on YouTube. She knew she didn’t want to raise meat goats and get into slaughtering. The dwarf goats were more manageable than regular-sized goats.

“I was watching all the kiddings, making sure medicine was being administered, and vet calls were being taken care of,” said Kristina.

They started with four does in 2021. “We bred them in January, and they had kids in June,” she said.

“We have 18 girls, four that we’ll keep from this year, and five boys.”

“We raise them for kids. The kids sell pretty well; a lot of people like having them for pets. They’re great for homesteads because of their small size. We have them for milk and cheese; we’re going to make ice cream.

“Goat’s milk has a really high butter fat content. I think it’s creamier than [cow’s] milk. It digests a whole lot easier. A lot of people use it for rescue animals. People with rescue foals use goat’s milk instead of powdered milk because it’s just easier on their stomach.”

They also have and sell chickens and eggs. “We breed for color of egg, color of feather, personality and hardiness.”

Future Plans: The mother/daughter farming team have other aspirations for products in addition to food. 

“I’m hoping one day to make soap or lotion from goat’s milk.” Kristina touted the health benefits for use on people’s skin, having already used it herself. She found goat’s milk soap to be one of the few beneficial treatments for her skin whenever she has an issue. “I’d like to be able to make my own.”


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