When somebody asks me what do I like to do on my free time, I’m proud to say that one of my biggest passions is farming. As I articulate those words, I receive weird looks and several “But you’re a girl” statements as responses, and that’s something I’ve dealt with during the past year.
I’ve also dealt with cicadas (those insects that are famous for disappearing entirely for many years, only to reappear in force at a regular interval—yes, they conveniently appeared this year), harvesting under a 97-degree temperature and even under heavy rains, and carrying wheelbarrows all over the place. And it’s the best kind of feeling in the world: sleeping inside of wheelbarrows, sleeping next to a pile of compost, and of course, sleeping under an apple tree.
Like people say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and farming is painfully beautiful. Yes, you might end up looking like a homeless by the end of the day, you might sometimes not be able to function properly due to muscle soreness depending on the activity performed, and you might even lose your spirit once the Sun hits your skin and by the end of the summer you have a very noticeable farmer’s tan.
But once you get into the activity, you fall in love with it. And no, you don’t have to deal with animals to necessarily be called a farmer. However, you might encounter a diverse quantity of worms and insects under pieces of wood, rocks, and what not. Coming from a person who used to cry whenever a butterfly was present in the room, it gets better. Seriously, farming can make you react on a more rational way when you are under pressure, and by under pressure I mean when you are surrounded by insects. I ended up adopting against my will an “I love bugs” policy. Whenever I saw one of these, I just picked up my rational thoughts, grabbed some gloves, and just put the organisms away from me. This happened after a repetitive pattern of losing my composure every time I was exposed to the farming environment.
If you live in the city, farming can be the perfect way to escape from the noise that characterizes them. It’s a totally different environment: from being surrounded by cars and tall buildings to being surrounded by the water coming out from the sprinklers and the smell of mint in the morning.
The activity itself tends to be underrated. Not only do I receive weird looks and statements, but I’m classified in occasions as an underachiever. “But I thought you were smart, why do you spend four hours a day getting dirty?” This question follows the misconception of farmers being uneducated. I can’t stop laughing at this statement, especially considering that my farming mentors graduated from Wesleyan University, Bard College and Brown University. Whenever I asked them why they decided to pursue the so denominated Green Life, they answered with a variation of “I wasn’t happy”. Farming can just make you feel better. Why? Because you’re helping the world with a little action, one step at a time. It might result easy to judge a person based on how dirty their clothes are, but this doesn’t mean that they’re unhappy or that they didn’t pursue a path of education.
Young people should give farming a try. Forget about everything you’ve heard about farmers (they don’t know how to use technology, they don’t have manners, they’re just wasting their time with agriculture) because it’s a way of rejuvenating themselves and helping the the environment. And there’s not such a thing as “wasting time with agriculture”. Let’s face it, whether it’s organic or not, human beings can’t live without farming.
If someone doesn’t want to be directly involved with the activity, they might consider to at least be aware of the place the food they’re consuming is coming from, and to support local farmer’s markets. Because we obviously rock.
Just let nature speak to you, because the Green Life chooses you.