Emily’s “Why I Farm” Part II

I appreciate that BFS is a farm school, not merely a farm. In a place and time where farming isn’t the norm and is even looked down upon as an unwise career choice, BFS is sparking interest in the volunteers, both adults, and children, that come by.

One thing I love about physical labor is that I can think. Because I’ve been in school almost my entire life, most of the topics I’ve spent thinking about have been assigned. I didn’t have much time for pleasure reading about subjects I was interested in, and no one to discuss my interests with (a con of being an aspiring farmer in DC). 

prepping a garden area for fall planting

With more time to read, I’ve been able to dig deep into different perspectives on a variety of matters (a recent favorite read is The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson). The farm is where I can process these perspectives. One reason for this is that on the farm, I have time to think. As I’ve settled into my routine of watering, weeding, and harvesting, I’ve been able to parse through what I’ve been learning. Another reason is that many of the volunteers on the farm have also learned and thought about the same things. I’ve had amazing conversations about the carbon storage potential of farms, the pros/cons of meat production, and social justice. 

The interconnectedness of food is astounding. Not only does it nourish our bodies, but it also carries significant cultural, ecological, historic, scientific, and philosophical value. A professor gave my class a short article to read for our first day of class. It forges connections and articulates them more clearly than I ever could. 

crimping cover crop

I appreciate that BFS is a farm school, not merely a farm. In a place and time where farming isn’t the norm and is even looked down upon as an unwise career choice, BFS is sparking interest in the volunteers, both adults, and children, that come by. At the birthday party held at the farm last week, children were pulling carrots from the ground. The look on their faces said it all- they were proud and excited that they had harvested a snack on their own. The carrots were gone in minutes. It gives me a lot of satisfaction and joy to think that this, for many of them, was the first time they understood where carrots come from. One of the parents came up to me afterward and said that she struggled to get her son to eat vegetables, but that he ate the carrot without any prompting. I’m guessing this is because he watched the other kids’ excitement and felt proud after harvesting it on his own.

kids marvel at the freshness of these carrots at a recent bday party with a farm school theme

I think we should all be able to take pride in our food. Whether we’re farmers ourselves, have a single raised bed at home, or even support regenerative agriculture by buying from local farmers markets, I believe we each have a role to play in shifting the food system to one where we understand and are proud of where our food comes from, just like that child. Food is a baseline, a necessity, a starting point from which change can unfold, and I’m eager to continue thinking and learning about it. 

slumbering bumble bee on a wild flower

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