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Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Farming Lessons and Learning

I haven't been farming for very long, 
            and I don't know what more seasoned folks would say, but I feel that farming is humbling work.  Heck, I wouldn't even consider myself a farmer although my days (and nighttime dreams) are filled by this land.  

There are so many skills needed, so much memory and planning and strategizing, that I am in awe of our fearless leaders and farmers, Erinn, Dan and Anna.  Personally, it seems that every week is somehow interesting, filled with new discoveries or challenges.  I'm finding that small things hold so much weight - a seemingly little object, each and every piece, is crucial to the whole.  Twice this week I learned that lesson, once with a clamp on those blue irrigation hoses you may have seen around, and once on a turn-buckle on a tractor.  It's easy for something to snap, or get stuck, and have an otherwise simple, habitual task take a new turn.  I think I learn new skills by the week.  

Like many people, I didn't grow up farming or working with tools and it's both exasperating and exciting to have my limits challenged by inanimate objects.  I think most farmers live between the balance of trying not to reinvent the wheel, while trying to find fresh, efficient solutions. Sometimes I feel like a piece of steel is smarter than me - it certainly can be stronger.  These (long) moments, when I'm sitting on the ground wrestling with a wrench, pushes me to be more creative in my approach.  More thoughtful, as well, and to take a step back and look at a problem from a new angle.  It's a lesson worth learning and relearning.

Janelle leads the way with a load of rainbow chard

It's a hard time of the year to actually take that backwards step and reflect.  Yet, it's necessary and happens naturally - the tedious seems a little less so when I remember the reasons why I love to farm.  The quiet spring evenings spent looking over the front field feel like forever ago, and it's funny to imagine that in just a few weeks the mornings will be cool again.  I love hearing stories about WFCF and the community that peoples it; there are traces of everyone here.  I love that feeling around five in the afternoon where the morning felt like it happened years ago, and I've used my body and mind well that day.  It's been on my mind lately about how when we step off the farm road and into a field to harvest, it seems like all else slips away.  The work we do is all-encompassing and when you let it, truly meditative.  It is thoughtful and intentional work, and while a farmer can make a task her whole world, it is a task done for the world she lives in.  Farming is something that we give ourselves to, and we just gotta embrace the ride.
Enjoy the sunshine,
Janelle, Assistant Grower

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