When I was younger, I desperately wanted to live on a farm. I also wished I had been born a boy, and much of that had to do with my intense dislike of dresses, barrettes, lacy socks, and the like. Plus, I liked the games the boys were playing on the playground (soccer, kickball, Batman) much more than I liked the girl games (hair braiding, hopscotch, "house," and dolls). I stopped wishing I were a boy a long time ago, but the appeal of a farm has never left me.
I wrote a story in the 5th grade, one that won a competition and allowed me to attend a young writers' conference at the local university. The story's setting? A farm.
During my years at university, I spent two summers working on a horse farm. The intense physical labor, the connection with nature, the exhaustion in my body at the end of the day, and the interaction with animals was nothing short of glorious.
Today, I like to support local, organic farms by choosing to purchase their goods at farmers' markets or my local organic market. One farm that I discovered at the Del Ray farmer's market is Smith Meadows. It's 75 miles from my home and, while I don't eat meat, I've encouraged my partner to purchase his meat from their booth since all animals are grass-fed, humanely raised, and not treated with hormones or antibiotics (and the pasture is not chemically fertilized or treated with pesticides). They also sell free range eggs from grass-fed hens as well as homemade pastas and sauces.
I was so excited when I learned that the lead farmer, Forrest Pritchard, wrote a book about his experiences of being born into a farming family, choosing to become a farmer himself, overcoming huge obstacles to achieve the success he has today, and learning how the earth takes care of itself when humans take care of it in turn.
I just finished the book yesterday afternoon and already feel like I could read it again. Fabulous writing coupled with fascinating stories (all true!) made for a really fun read. It's so much better knowing where our food comes from and it's comforting knowing that there are still farmers, unsubsidized by the government, that farm with integrity.
For anyone who ever dreamed about living on a farm and for those who want a closer look at farm life, working with the earth, and knowing where your food comes from, I highly recommend this book. You won't be able to put it down.