Though farm work may not be as glamorous as one reads in books and blogs, or sees on tv, it still is wondrous work. I’ve learned this growing up when I would help my grandfather in his garden, and I certainly reinforced these sentiments this past week and a half working at Boone Street Farm for my independent senior project for Garrison Forest School. Farming is tiresome, straining, sweaty, and sometimes bloody (if you’re clumsy like me and you accidentally cut yourself with a hand tool on the first day…) work. Weeding is, frankly, boring, but is a very necessary part of farming if you want your crops to survive and not the weeds; it is also something that needs to be done often, because they’ll just grow back. Creating new rows is tiring and probably requires every muscle in your body for hours on end, but again, it is very necessary, as this is obviously where the food is grown. Harvesting is pretty easy and fun, but this is only a fraction of the work on a farm. It’s the handful of performances after months of long rehearsals, set building, costume designing, figuring out lighting and music, as well as everything that goes on backstage during a show. However, like performances, farming too is so rewarding, and when you step back after a long day outside, sweaty, with dirt covering the entire surface of your body, new blisters on your hands, and ready to take a nap (after a cold shower), you realize how awesome this work is. Through the endless hours you feel completely at peace with the land you are working with, you talk to people about anything and everything (though it usually relates to farming somehow), and you feel a sense of satisfaction comparable to nothing else on earth. Not to negate other jobs, but little to none are as fundamentally important as that of the farmer. They are the ones who produce food, and, simply put, humans could not survive without it. Thus, humans could not survive without farmers. So you can imagine the pride a farmer has when they hand their fresh produce to their customer, because at that moment they realize the long hours they put into producing that crop meant they’re giving their customer something so important to their health.
However, in the modern world this exchange happens very rarely. Most people rely entirely on grocery stores to provide their food, having no idea who produced it, who spent hours weeding, and planting, and watering, and harvesting. Frankly, that these events even occur is something the grocery store shopper doesn’t even have to think about; to many grocery store shoppers, food just magically appears. However, when you can buy directly from a farmer, you can appreciate your food so much more, and even though it may be more expensive than conventionally farmed food, as the buyer you can appreciate that you’re supporting an individual, a real person, instead of a faceless corporation.
As I phase out my two-week internship at Boone Street Farm, I know I will put to good use everything I have learned. Between sustainable farming practices I have been shown, to a little bit about soil health when I attended the Soil Building Workshop, to simply the true love and passion I have for producing my own food, I know I will come out of this experience a more valuable member to the modern organic farming movement. Whether I make a career out of it after college or not, I know I will always be farming in some way, even if it is a tomato pot on my deck and a few small house plants if I don’t have a yard. Growing food is something so satisfying and rewarding to me, especially when I think about how much work and love I’ve put into it.
I wish all the best to Boone Street Farm in their upcoming season, and am so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work on their beautiful farm.