Story by Eva Verbeeck
This summer Spencer MacDonald and I worked and lived together with young farmers. All of them are first generation young farmers on small scale organic farms. Some of the farmers went straight from college to farming and growing food. I used to find this a strange choice but my perspective has changed over the past couple of years.
After traveling extensively, I got to experience the power of food and especially home grown and cooked food. Wherever you go food is full of history and culture. It has the power to connect people unlike anything else. It’s often with that in mind that people start farming. Living in a city I see daily how people have gotten disconnected and ignorant about something so intimate as the food that they eat. Not a lot of people realize that the choices to buy a certain type of produce may support a type of agriculture that might be harmful to the landscape. Eating is one of our most powerful engagements. Agriculture has formed our landscape more than anything else in the world. We only live once, but if we’re lucky you get to eat three times a day. It’s important to make a conscious decision every single time.
To learn more about the organic food movement and small scale organic farming, Spencer and I started a trip across North America. We woke up early everyday and started working. Tasks vary from day to day. Some days we were harvesting. Others, we spent weeding, pruning and transplanting. We spent so much time working in the field. Organic farming is incredibly labor intensive. Your hands and feet will get dirty. You will get cuts and bruises. But besides that, you will get to work together very intensely with others.
Above all that, I find the work itself almost enchanting. You plant something, take care of it knowing that the end of the whole process someone is going to cook and enjoy it. Food strongly connects us all. I don’t want to romanticize farming. It can be chaotic and stressful, but in the end it can be very rewarding.