I love change. I love a challenge. Both of these things have motivated me to have many jobs and to move many times. I wasn't sure I would find any job that could keep my attention for more than 2 years. Yet here I am, starting my 6th year as a farmer at Stone Coop. What is it that keeps me inspired, challenged, and located in the same place? Being my own boss is tops on the list. Being accountable for my decisions and watching them germinate, grow and bear fruit. Taking risks and realizing that many of my mistakes opened new possibilities and made me think differently.
Having to let go of control is another wonderful thing that farming does for me. I can't control the weather, but I can use what I know about it to grow crops that love the cold in the winter and crops that love the heat in the summer. I am much better at letting go and observing what happens when I do.
Creativity is also crucial to me. Farming allows me to use my engineering skills with my creative side to design fields that benefit our ecosystem and that are also pleasing to the eye. I now see a spider and am not afraid, but love the fact that there are so many and that they thrive in the places we provide for them. I change the design each season with the rotation of my crop plan. Excel meets Monet.
I get to use every part of me when I farm; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And best of all - I GET TO EAT IT! There is no way I can deny the abundance that surrounds me.
The focus on Branding this month with Abundance Cubed has really reminded me why I love farming, what I believe is important and how I can translate that into my brand and my product.
Recommended Viewing: Brandon Semenuk's Mountain Bike Ride looks so effortless, yet it is obvious he has done this ride and taken these risks MANY times. It's a reminder, if you do something you love enough times, even when it's risky, it will become effortless.
Did You Know? Stone Coop Farm grows a beautiful heirloom variety of kale called Curly Roja. The purple color intensifies in cold weather. In order to survive our cold winters in Michigan, kale produces extra sugars in its cells to act like an antifreeze. Therefore winter kale grown in freezing climates tastes sweet instead of bitter.
According to Jo Robinson's book, Eating on the Wild Side, "Kale is one of the few vegetables that meets or exceeds the nutritional value of some wild greens.... Kale is also high in antioxidant value, with red-leaved varieties being higher than green-leaf varieties."(169)