The season is a culmination of planning and hard work from an entire team of people who work from the coldest days in winter through the last leaf falling to the ground. While I often feel relief when the last delivery is made, I also feel a little sad. Each season we make a promise to so many people to do our best to deliver an entire season’s worth of produce to those like you who have trusted us with this responsibility. Without your trust and investment, our farm would not be able to do what we do. We are grateful, and in return we do not take it lightly. At times, however, the burden of that responsibility can be heavy on our fatigued bodies and souls. We feel relief in autumn when we cross the finish line, knowing that we gave it all to fulfill our promise.
I am also sad at the end of the season because there is also great joy in serving others and sharing space and purpose with people. When our community disperses for the winter, I feel a little sad. Farming is a community activity. Every day, I work beside dedicated people whose mission on the farm is to grow and distribute healthy food. I find tremendous joy working with them daily. Our paid employees, however, are not the only ones who make up our community.
Weekly, and sometimes more, a dedicated group of people help us with tasks on the farm like planting lettuce, weeding, and canning. They have become our friends and extended family who not only help us out, but who also make up the tapestry of our social interactions. We share joys, sorrows, and mosquitoes, and when the evening is over, we share spirits, food, and laughter. The memories created on these summer evenings provides the warmth that will carry us through the cold winter ahead.
Our community is also made up of you and others who support us financially and often emotionally throughout the season. I cannot count the number of times we have received a message of encouragement from people, thanking us for our work or acknowledging something written in an update. We treasure all of these as precious gifts given to us from our community. I also cannot count the times that someone has brought one or more of us hot coffee on a cold morning, cold tea on a hot afternoon, or homemade food to feed our hearts and bodies. I am humbled by the number of times that we have experienced some form of random financial assistance or help in times of need after something like storm damage happens. Every time someone asks me about my week and makes it clear that they want to hear the answer and every time someone shares their triumphs and sorrows with me, I realize that I belong to a larger community. I know that the greatest gift that can be given to someone is to be present with them. Farms are part of communities, but farms and communities are empty nouns without people. If I have learned anything as a farmer, it’s that people need each other.
As the season draws to an inevitable close, I am grateful for so many things. I am grateful for my family and health, and I am grateful that I have food in my stomach. I reflect on what a privilege and gift that is.