People's jaws have hung open widely as I retell the challenges we've overcome and the multiple heartbreaking dilemmas we've faced in pursuit of a farm. But beyond the disbelief, the most common response I get after people hear our story is:
Why would you want to be a farmer?
Five years ago, I was called to be a farmer. Five years ago, I was also a career-obsessed city girl with next-to-no thoughts about agriculture or "callings". But on an impromptu date to a local farm for groceries, my boyfriend (now fiance) casually suggested we should pay for the dig-your-own potatoes.
|The fateful day at the farm five years ago|
It was an outrageously hot day that day. The blueberry bushes were picked over, the strawberries had come and gone, and the potato patch seemed like a lot of work for not much pay off. But I never backed down from a challenge, so I picked up the small hand hoe and started digging.
My first few swipes through the dirt, I punctured some potatoes with the tool. I looked up at the sun and realized if I was ever going to finish digging up dinner, this small hand hoe would be no help. I tossed the tool to the side and dug my hands into the rich earth.
That was the moment. That's when it all began to change. It was almost as though time stood still while I began to dig, and dig... and dig. I could hear the muffled chatter of my boyfriend in the background, but I couldn't make out the words.
I felt my soul vibrating with a happiness I hadn't felt before. There was something familiar and nurturing about the warmth of the soil and the simplicity of the task. In the blink of an eye, the box was brimming to the top with freshly dug potatoes and I realized I didn't want to stop.
I turned to look over the farm and saw the sun lowering in anticipation of the sunset, warming the seemingly infinite farming fields with gold and pink hues. I heard the air softly rustle through the almost-barren blueberry bushes, and watched as the goats were led to their overnight barn as the day began to come to an end.
Over the next few days, I continued to feel a tug at my heart. I felt urged to return to a simpler time; a time that I had never lived through before, but just knew that it would be good at its core. Every pass by the window, it was as if the sun was prompting me:
Walk in the dirt.
Put your hands in the earth.
Feel the warmth of the world.
That's when I knew I couldn't turn away from the knowledge that was planted like a seed deep within my soul. I was meant to be outside. I was meant to return to simpler times. I was meant to feed people in a poor community and teach them how to self-sustain. I, the city-loving career-climbing girl, was meant to be a farmer.
And I've never looked back since.