When I first decided to intern at Guy's Family Farm, most of my friends and family thought I was crazy. Why work in ridiculously hot and humid weather and get dirty just to learn to grow vegetables? Why not get a decent job that pays well in lets me work in air conditioning? To be honest, these were questions that I had asked myself a dozen times before (and still ask myself on particularly miserable days). I'm not even sure I completely knew why I wanted to be a farm intern when I applied, but I do know the three reasons why I've stayed and why I want to continue farming in the future.
1. Connection to the Land
I love that farming allows me to be outside. I used to hate the feeling of dirt on my skin, but now, nothing makes me happier than feeling of the warm earth beneath my feet. Nothing excites me more than knowing that every morning I get to wake up and spend my day breathing fresh air and playing in the dirt. Working on the farm has changed my perspective of comfort. I no longer want to spend my free time sitting in an air conditioned room watching Netflix. Instead, I'd rather be out weeding beets or chasing around a rogue chicken. There is nothing else that can compare to the feeling of being connected to the world around me.
2. Fresh, Healthy Food
For the longest time I thought eating healthy meant not eating a lot of sugar or carbs and staying away from fast food restaurants. Working on the farm has completely changed what healthy food means to me. I now have more knowledge of where the food that I've been eating for the last 23 years comes from, and I am appalled that that is what I have been putting in my body. My perspective of what is good food has changed entirely. The thought of consuming processed foods, conventionally grown crops, and meat from confinement systems makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I like knowing that the vegetables on my plate was grown naturally without any chemicals and that the meat I eat was raised humanely and not pumped full of steroids or antibiotics. The way I look at food will simply never be the same.
Farm work isn't easy. In fact, sometimes it's some of the hardest work I've ever had to do. There are days where the sun is beating down on me and the thermometer reads 97 degrees. As I'm dripping in sweat, I look over at Guy, Sandy, and Becca and see they're feeling the same way I am; hot, sweaty, tired, and even a little grumpy. Knowing that I'm not the only one makes it easy enough to keep going. Having other people who are just as committed to growing healthy food and deviating from conventional farming in a more natural and sustainable way makes it that much easier. It's not always easy, but seeing other farmers fighting the good fight reminds me that I'm not alone in wanting to do this and that I'm not completely crazy.