Today I asked myself a few simple (but not so simple) questions. Beginning with why did I move to the tiny area of Alderson after graduating from college? Why didn’t I return to my home of California with my family? Why didn’t I pursue an English career with my newly acquired degree? And finally, why am I working on a farm with little knowledge of gardening and making very little income? When I bundle all of these uncertainties into one bigger, more elaborate question I can think of only one answer and that is because it is the best opportunity to help the future health of this world and the future health of myself.
Since joining Grow Appalachia I have as a result connected with several local farmers and now find myself working on a CSA Farm for the area of southern West Virginia. Working here is expanding my knowledge in ways I truly believe schooling cannot. My knowledge in not only farming but in the multiple techniques used by so many individual, unique farmers is revealing to me just how much the earth is changing and how generations are learning to adapt and prosper. Actually, all those deep, existential questions I was asking myself about life earlier were asked while picking white and purple beans at 6:00 A.M. for about 2 hours. This shows how farming is giving me the patience to actually think for just a little and begin to understand a little bit better everyday just all the work and effort that goes into growing delicious, and organic produce, even when the odds are so much against the small farmers of this world. Sure, it is easier to spray horrible pesticides and unknown, hazardous materials on your produce and weeds, yet with a little more effort and time one can weed themselves and find organic, nontoxic pesticides that will only bring them greater health benefits in the end. I am learning just how difficult farming can be but how amazing the reward is when done right.
A lot of my participants are struggling this summer season with the weather and a lot are not producing what they normally would for their livelihood. However, like everything in this life, it is a learning experience. It may be a tough learning experience but it is going to be conquered and the farmers are going to continue to grow and find new ways to battle the unknown. That is why an English degree college graduate is in Alderson working for very little money, on a farm, from 6:00 A.M. to late afternoon 4 days out of the week. Because the hard, conscious, and vital work of farmers should not be forgotten but continued and I hope to make my mark in this new and exciting world of local, organic food!