The last couple of months I’ve been working and living together with young farmers. All of them are first generation young farmers on small scale organic farms. Some of the farmers went straight from college to farming and growing food. I used to find this a strange choice but my perspective has changed over the past couple of years.
After traveling extensively, I got to experience the power of food and especially home grown and cooked food. Wherever you go food is full of history and culture. It has the power to connect people unlike anything else. It’s often with that in mind that people start farming. Living in a city I see daily how people have gotten disconnected and ignorant about something so intimate as the food that they eat. The choices we make to eat produce one kind of agriculture or another. That kind of agriculture produces one kind of nature. Eating is one of our most powerful engagements. Agriculture has formed our landscape more than anything else in the world. We only live once, but if we’re lucky you get to eat three times a day. It’s important to make a conscious decision every single time.
To learn more about the organic food movement and small scale organic farming, I started a trip across North America. So far, it has been an incredible adventure. We wake up early every day and start working. Tasks vary from day to day. Some days we are harvesting. Others, we spend weeding, pruning and transplanting. We spend so much time outside working in the field. Organic farming is incredibly labor intensive. Your hands and feet will get dirty. You will get cuts and bruises. But besides that, you will get to work together very intensely with others and because of that the people I’ve farmed with have grown to be some of my best friends.
Above all that, I find the work itself almost enchanting. You plant something, take care of it knowing that the end of the whole process someone is going to cook and enjoy it. Food strongly connects us all.
I don’t want to romanticize farming. It can be chaotic and stressful, but in the end it can be very rewarding. Personally, it’s one of the best rollercoasters I’ve been on so far and I’m planning on going for another ride.
See more photos of first generation farmers on She Explores.
Words and photos by Eva Verbeeck