For the past couple weeks my cousin Hannah has been at the farm helping out. She had come to stay and work for a couple weeks in the summer as well and I asked her to give you all a change in perspective from mine for this week’s farm news. A big Thank You to Hannah for all her help this month!
Hi! My name is Hannah and I’m living and working here at Groundworks Farm for three weeks this January. My college gives students the month of January to pick an independent project to work on throughout the month, and I decided to come back to Groundworks after being here for a few weeks this past summer.
Margaret and I are cousins, and I jumped at the prospect this past summer of working outside on her and Kevin’s farm. My motivation to come work at Groundworks in the summer stemmed from a curiosity as to what organic farming entailed. I had heard a lot about its benefits, such as how organic farming is more environmentally sustainable than big, pesticide-using farms, and that organic food is healthier to eat because it is not covered in chemicals. However I had no idea what went in to growing these organic vegetables.
During the summer, I loved working outside and getting acquainted with “farm life,” and I did not want to leave after just two weeks. When I had the opportunity to come back in January, I was excited because Groundworks gives me the chance to, so to speak, practice what I (and others) preach. Working here allows me to be in the midst of the local food and sustainable farming movements, both of which I think are extremely important movements but I do not always have the chance to participate in them. Although the work here in the summer is very different than in the winter, I had the opportunity both times to experience the hard work and dedication it takes to raise and grow organic food and manage a farm business.
Summer at Groundworks Farm is extremely physically demanding and eventful. There are onions, squash, and tons of other vegetables to be harvested, CSA shares to be sorted, fields to be weeded, rows of crops to be hoed, and eggs to be collected. There is an abundance of sun, sweat, and activity. When I came back to Groundworks this January for a few weeks, I was not quite sure what to expect because I had no idea what farmers did when it was cold outside. One thing is for sure: they definitely keep busy. Snow, wind, and other January weather do not prevent some varieties of crops from growing, while other vegetables are grown in warm, humid greenhouses. Work here in the winter still requires hours of harvesting and packaging vegetable shares, just as it did in the summer. However, instead of rows upon rows of onions and zucchini, there are fields of purple kale and broccoli greens. The chickens, of course, still lay eggs, so there are buckets of eggs to be collected from the coops and washed each week.
This January, apart from the outside vegetable and animal related labor, I got a snapshot of the office paperwork that comes along with managing a farm business. There were a few days during a lull between CSA pickups when it was too freezing and snowy to do anything outside, so we spent the days in the office. There were letters to be written, addressed, and stamped, orders to be made, receipts to be organized, and accounts to be looked over and arranged. I had no idea how much “behind-the-scenes” office work had to be done to keep the business side of the Farm running.
Even though my time here at Groundworks Farm this January differed from July in the lack of heat, the amount of work that had to be done stayed the same.
However tiring the work or cold the weather is outside, the work ethic here remains strong. Kevin and Margaret’s commitment to Groundworks is inspirational and my time working here in both summer and winter has shown me the intense but rewarding labor it takes to grow, raise, and deliver organic food.
Your Farmer this month,