a job that could provide some of the tastiest meals on the planet, a job that would replace your gym membership and perhaps keep you more fit, and a job that would leave you with the most entertaining stories to share at social events and family reunions.
Would you be interested?
Well… I sure am. That job is the job of being a farmer. When I grow up, I’d like to be a farmer.
And I’m not talking corporate. I’m talking small farming. My dream: Garden. Fruit Trees. Herbs by the back door. Milking goat. Bunch of chickens. Bee hives and Highland cattle out back. My farming friends have told me I don’t know what I’m talking about (aka: rethink your pretty picture) but that is where those challenges and difficulties will make THE BEST stories to tell at parties and to the grand-kids. Such as the pig escapee and the cow falling into the feeding trough (Whit, I am still having a hard time picturing how that one was possible). This is my dream. I am working on convincing my husband.
Why Farm? Three reasons:
1. I want to eat the best food- I want it to taste good and feel good. And when you’re picking your own zucchini off the vine or getting your eggs from Two Sparrows Farm (our friends Dan and Whitney Belprez’s farm) there is so much more motivation for cooking and creativity.
2. I am called to be a good steward of the earth. Right now, we lay waste to the earth whether it be through the beef/corn/wheat industry or non-shade grown coffee or our consumption of plastic. Every time I consume these things, I am a little part of the problem. Through (organic) farming, I want to sustain ably live. And let’s be honest, I have a smidgen of that “save the world” complex.
3. I want to share. I want to share the abundance of the earth. I want to have a table where all are welcome and none leave hungry.
But farming isn’t for everyone.
So frequent the farmer’s markets, get connected to farms (visit them!), find stores like Nourish (on Weathly Street), get a milk share (raw is the best), become part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), go explore orchards.
And what do you do if you cannot afford local, organic, organic/local food?
First off, let me say, our budget is tight too… but there are ways. And unfortunately too many people are going hungry in a country that wastes enough food to feed them all.
What you can do: Become part of an (urban) community garden (or help build one). My friend Charlie is a ring-leader in this area. Learn how to can (that thing your grandmother used to do and many country folk still do). Many times in the fall you can find produce (the imperfect or abundant crops) for lower prices- buy it in large quantities and then can or freeze it. Learn how to container garden- whether on your roof, balcony, or back-yard. Some lettuce can be grown through our Michigan Decembers! Start with small things like herbs or (my favorite) tomatoes. By even growing or canning some of your own food… there will be months when you have just enough extra grocery money for that Heritage burger or another farmers’ pork.
In conclusion, CHOOSE one thing you can do to eat better (and usually that also means one more thing you can do to ease your footprint on the planet). DO ONE THING. Once you’ve mastered that, learn something else.
What am I going to do? Convince my dad to let me keep a pig on his property, visit farms this summer and learn skills, grow lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes, can LOTS of stuff, check out community gardens in GR, pick fruits at orchards… and Jeff’s going to learn to butcher.