I am asked almost every single day why I do this. "Why do you work so hard?", "Why would you want to do something so dirty?", "Why don't you just be a nurse, that's a nice job?" are all phrases that I hear every day of my life. So, WHY? Why do I choose to do this hard, dirty, sometimes not-so-nice job of being a slightly crazy organic farmer?
I have this funny daydream that I am Scarlet O'Hara, standing in the middle of my crops, grabbing a handful of dirt and shouting to the heavens, "As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again"! All with a fantastic Southern accent, of course, could you imagine it any other way? I call Melanie a ninny, then, I make dresses out of curtains and it all goes a little wild from there...
There are days when I think that I have the determination of Scarlet to succeed at conquering the earth. Could the answer be so simple, I just want to conquer, to stand on top of it and say that I have controlled it? Certainly not! I look in my children's eyes and I know the answer.
Have you noticed that our food supply is growing more and more contaminated with disease? Are you aware of the pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed repeatedly on our food? Have you researched GMO's and the scary reality that they could be the potential key to a collapse in our food system? Have you seen commercial feed lots and read about the antibiotics and growth hormones that our animal food supply is subjected to all for bigger, faster, cheaper meat? Have you noticed the rise in diabetes in our country - now one out of every three children is expected to get diabetes - a statistic that I find extremely alarming. Did you know that one out of every three women and one out of two men will be diagnosed with some kind of cancer in their lifetime? Are you aware that life expectancy in our country is now on the decline, a first for us in this country?
This is why. This is why I spend all of my extra time covered from head to toe in dirt, why my hands crack and bleed, why I am obsessed with organic, why we eat meat and dairy once a week instead of every day. This is why I am sweaty and not in a girlie glowing way (oh my...)! This is why I have become one of the crusaders that has lunatic bumper stickers on the back of my car (it's true...). This is why my children plant with me, dig with me, and dance with me while we work. It is because it is the one thing that I can control that will make the biggest difference for my family.
I know that I can control what goes into our bodies by growing it myself. I can control the use of chemicals (uuhhhmmm...NONE) and synthetic fertilizers (again...NONE) and I can make sure that everything I grow is organic. I can also make sure that nothing that I plant is a "frankenfood" or GMO. I am really not a fan of the idea of genetically altering crops so that they can be sprayed with whatever chemical to start a genetic reaction. I think that putting bt genes or other genes in plants will create super insects that are immune to bt and we will have a major food crisis on our hands. Scary...
The best part about being this crazy obsessed earthy farmer is that my kids are learning valuable lessons. They know how to grow food, and they know how to do it well! My kids love to be outside, they know how to run and play and use their imaginations. My kids know about nature and plants. They know about bugs and birds, worm hunting could be considered a family pastime! My kids have great respect for the planet and the soil, which I love. They are the first to point out something that I have done that is not in harmony with the earth.
The very best thing, the thing I love the most, is that my kids are excited to eat the food we grow, and that means that my kids LOVE vegetables and fruit! It makes this mama happy to know that they will gobble asparagus, munch lettuce and spinach, crunch cabbages, raid the peas and beans, eat up squashes, and sneak off with as many tomatoes as they can carry. It makes every blister worth it!
The last thing that my whole family has learned is gratitude with what the earth can give. We have been so blessed. The earth has this ability to give, to grow, to heal, and to bring joy. We are happy, really happy. There is rarely a day when we are not, and then, we go get in the dirt and suddenly, we are happy again! It's a magical thing!!!
I love this life! This is not a job to me, it is life, I would not trade it for all the nice and easy jobs in the world. To all those who ask me "Why", I hope that this answers the question. It's not just that it is fun, or dreamy, it's that the earth runs in my veins, I feel it pulsing through every cell in my body. I have to be a part of it because it is a part of me.