Farming, Part 1.
Posted On May 11, 2013
I promised an update on this subject, and the wealth of feelings and changes that accompany it have made it difficult for me to know where to start. I should know better, though. The best way to start is to jump right in and just say what I know, letting the rest come. My choices up until this point, looking back, seem perfect- every success and every failure. Each step I've taken, each opportunity I've been given, have brought me to this amazing point where I can actually do this. I sometimes have to pinch myself. I suppose I'll start with just the basics about what's going on right now.
So last year we started up our urban farm and shared a booth at one farmer's market with our best friends (Bri and Brett, who now live with us). I know, things have gotten a bit complicated. Anyway, last year we both applied for a hoop house grant deal that we both were approved for- but things didn't quite work out in terms of the site and so we had to put those plans on hold. We tend to have faith that these things will work out, but we were a bit anxious about whether or not this particular grant would work out for us simply because the program was only going on for another year. So. We knew that we wanted it, but we weren't quite sure how we were going to pull it off. Earlier this year Jeff heard about an ad for a used mobile hoop for less than half of what it would be worth new. We decided it was worth a shot, with no assurance of a site to use. So we went and met the wonderful farmer who is selling it. We got to talking, told her about our current limitations, and she was, to put it mildly, amazing. She had other people come look at the hoop but she wanted us. She also thought it'd be great if we assumed her entire farm, CSA and all, so that she could smoothly transition into another phase of her life. In short, we all feel like we were brought together for a reason. I can't go into too much more detail at this moment, just because it's all still transitioning and things are somewhat up in the air. But this thing, it's happening. And it means that we can actually go to multiple markets and have a small CSA and reduce the number of hours that Brett works at his day job. We're crossing over, and it feels like the universe is giving us a big wet kiss of approval.
Other farming- I'm still working out at my part time farming job, and things are going well. I am adjusting to the different pace and working to adjust my expectations to meet the abilities and limitations that are just a part of working within an organization. It's been so much more than gardening, there, and for that I'm grateful. Such a good challenge! It's been teaching me a lot about just showing up, thinking outside the box, and keeping it simple. I'm coming to terms with the fact that working with recovering drug addicts is kind of hard sometimes, and things rarely go as planned. Last year I think I got a little burned out on everything (perhaps it was the months of 100 degree heat? Hm.), but this year I'm invigorated about it all. Not to mention that this little arrangement we have going on in our house takes a lot of the responsibility off of me in terms of all the other farming stuff. Before it was just Jeff at work, me with 2 little kids, a part time job, and a farm to plan and pull off. It left me a bit… frazzled. Happy as always, but frazzled.
Now, the ease with which I go from activity to activity is really apparent to me. I mean, I'm still struggling a bit with this dang concussion, but aside from that- I can leave the house for work and know that the kids are fed and cared for, Jeff is getting all his hours at work in, someone is thinking about dinner, someone has taken on the farm chores, and all is well. And when other people are off and working, I hope they feel the same.
These pictures of Vera were from a day that I got to take her to work with me, just the two of us. She was munching away on all the bitter and spicy greens that have proven to be mostly too intense for the clients at the facility. My zesty little farm girl. That's a challenge that I continually have at my job, is getting clients to cook and use the produce we grow. I'm working on better methods of communicating with the kitchen, creating fun and accessible recipes, etc. We'll see how it goes this year, it's only just beginning. But that issue has been closer to my heart than ever, lately, and it was a catalyst for some humility in me, honestly. It's so easy for me now, in my little local-food touting bubble, to assume that people can just change the way that they eat. This job has brought me a little closer to the reality of the food issues in this country, and I found myself grateful to get vegetables in with anything they are eating. I've talked a bit about this before, I think. It's just a totally privileged position to be in, to a) know what food is actually good for you, b) know how to use and consume that food, c) know how to afford and sustain that way of eating, and d) gain understanding and a passion for the ethical side of it all. So this year I will feel happy if these vegetables are used more efficiently and they find a home in more bellies. The year has just started really and all is well so far.
Pictured below are some of my seedlings there. They are so happy! We've got hundreds and hundreds going. I sometimes just sigh when I think of the potential.
Tomorrow I'll post more about our home farm and our developing philosophies. Yay!