Monday, January 27, 2014

Wintery Week of Watching

Kim here, the CSA member-turned-crew member. In my time as part of Groundworks Farm, I have moved through plenty of variations on those titles. The short version is, I got hooked on Margaret and Kevin's Kool-Aid (or, more likely, organic carrot juice) and decided to throw myself into my food system for a period of time.  I went from being a member when the farm was in Vermont, to being so connected that it was a huge loss for me when they moved the farm to Maryland. They offered generously to have me come join them, so last July, I did.

A couple of weeks ago, when Kevin and Margaret went on an experiential visit to some friends' farms in Vermont, I was put in charge of keeping things running here. It was supposed to be a quieter week, with no pickups and a smaller crew to manage, and was given mainly the daily farm chores and a list of soups to prepare for the Frozen Meal Shares. Seemed feasible, given I have learned everything I know about farming from these guys... just do as I'm instructed and it can't be so bad. They did leave me with some numbers for people who would help if there were problems, etc. BUT EVERYTHING FREEZING ISN'T REALLY SOMETHING TO CALL EMERGENCY CONTACTS ABOUT. (haha)

It was really cold that week--below freezing for at least 72 hours straight, in the teens for at least 36 of those hours, and windy. While I know there were other parts of the country which were much colder than we were, it seemed like a lot for me to manage at times. I do feel homesick for Vermont often, and even Vermont in the winter. But I can't say I've felt homesick for trying to farm in Vermont winter. Pig feed trapped in a frozen-shut trailer, a van wouldn't start so I had to drive around the farm in my Volvo, tubs of water covered in inches frozen solid and requiring a sledgehammer, running water going out all over the farm, which is quite inconvenient when trying to prepare soup. Also, I think I've discovered that lots of warm, non-cotton layers actually perform the task of keeping you warm purely by not allowing your sweat to turn to ice. So many little
 adventures, in what seemed to be straightforward chores and tasks. Of course, everything ended up fine, and plenty of soup was made, don't worry.

It was an honor to be "in charge" while they were away, and several times I have been glad to watch things so they can have some time off the farm. Through my six months here, I've gained so much respect for the amount of guts they have each day. Handling whatever pops up in the course of a day while still maintaining what needs to be done on a regular basis--it is no doubt that they ARE passionate about growing us all amazing food. They need to approve this blog post and are not ones for tooting their own horns too much so I'll keep the praise to that.

When I began to write, I got a little stuck, mainly because I wasn't sure what to say. I started to think about what perspective I would have on farming that would be insightful enough, and got stuck on the possibility that even explaining what Groundworks Farm is to me, or even who I am to Groundworks Farm, could take up a blog post. Seems a little self-centered to write about myself, but I don't think it's about me--it's ultimately about all of you, too. We are all connected because of this farm, whether our motivation is health, value, environmentalism, commitment to community, personal relationships, or something else. And because of that, we're doing something good for ourselves but also good for one another. Not everyone would have the desire or capability to move to a farm in order to contribute, but I'm thankful that my life has allowed that to be my participation for this period of time.

Your Farmer,

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