Hope in a Family Garden

I am a farmer NOT A GARDENER. I find questions about my “gardens” from extension agents and neighbors to be one of the biggest insults (even if they don’t mean it) I could receive because folks, my garden makes a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. Beyond that I find the term garden to be gendered… women garden and men farm.  At times I take it personally. Also on 10 acres people do not garden in the same way you do in your 50 X 20 foot space. In fact my farm is organized into 10 blocks of 20,  4 x 400 foot beds so my decisions and techniques do look different…

that said this year I’m also becoming a gardener. While I will be cover cropping and maybe trying a few plantings here on the new land (my mom’s land) I will be farming at my “home farm” up the road. I had a moment last week when I thought to myself “What if I can’t harvest what I need for dinner without driving or biking up the road? What if I can wander the fields at dusk beer in hand after the kids fall asleep” and so I am having a “small” garden probably 3-4 x 100 foot beds so I can have the essentials (tomatoes, kale, greens, snack peppers, herbs, a kid fun garden) and the luxury items (pole beans, artichokes, melons, a zucchini, flowers for my mom’s table) close at hand. I have learned over the past year that I am a farmer and farming is my passion (cheesy I know), my vocation, and my art form. It is also comforting and sanity making and beautiful. I grew up in new York City and at this point in my life cannot imagine what life without a garden (or a farm for that matter) is like. I continue to believe that having control over what I eat in a base way is one of the most important things I have and so… I will continue on my old farm, building the soil at a new one and having a garden so I retain the peace of it all. I will certain share garden pictures and plans here but something about having my kitchen garden is incredibly freeing. In the midst of change and upheaval I will have a picnic location, a wandering space, a place to actively meditate (I mean weed after hours) and a way forward to dream about fields to come.