Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Farm School

In case you're wondering where I've been, I've been attending Farm School.

Betcha didn't know they had such a thing, did ya?

Well, since so many of the children of farmers split as soon as they could run off to the Big City, many farming families have come to an abrupt halt. There's no one left to farm the family farm. Or they couldn't afford it any more. Or the land was worth more to sell to developers than it was to grow vegetables.

Now, however, there's a new bunch of farmers cropping up (Hyuk! Huyk! Couldn't resist, sorry!) and they don't know how to farm, exactly. They were bitten by the planting bug: Must! Plant! Flowers!/Vegetables! but want to scale up and aren't sure how to do it. Colorado State University actually has classes on learning how to be a farmer and I'm taking them.

Ya know what? It ain't all about what to plant where, either. Instead, it's all about business planning and record keeping. There's a whole lot more business school stuff going on than farming stuff. Except that we get to chat about mice blowing up $7K irrigation pumps and how a cold spring pushed back everyone's planting dates and how you can lose tens of thousands of dollars in food to a whole host of horrible happenings like hail, too much rain, too little rain, insects, mice, raccoons, etc. I'm also learning that a good farmer has to know a whole helluva lotta stuff just to run their farm effectively. They need to know about plants, soil, weather patterns, insects, wildlife, irrigation, geography, marketing, business, management, finance, building, heavy equipment, zoning laws, water law, plant pathology, etc.

I'm really beginning to wonder if I have enough brain cells left to hack this work. I love it. I love growing things! I loved selling stuff at market and interacting with the public and chatting with people about plants and food and growing things, but I don't know if I have what it takes to be a farmer.

Strangely enough, I come from a long line of farmers and artists, on my father's side. So far, I've been a little of both.

The question remains, though: what do I want to be when I grow up?


Ali said...

I love that other people have no idea what they want to be either. I'm wrangling with the same crap, lady. WRANGLING...

Woman with a Hatchet said...

One day I'll grow up. Not sure what I'll be when I get there, though.

Maybe just crazy? I don't think they're paying living wages for that, though.

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