Leadership exists, but the head doesn’t move without the rest of the body. Leadership on farms should come from everyone.
Antonia is in her 2nd season of farming on farms not her own. This summer she works at a farm in Albuquerque, and is a student at McGill University in Montreal, where she studies Agriculture and Environmental Science, with a specialization in animal production.
Antonia grew up in both Albuquerque, New Mexico and Columbia, where her family has a farm.
My grandmother was born into an urban family in Columbia, but chose to raise her kids on a farm where she was the farm boss. She sold milk and eggs and sent her kids to college on that income. She would ride her tractor around everywhere.
In Columbia, tiny family farms make up a huge portion of national production – 40% of it. They have survived during Columbia’s civil war where rural communities were in the middle of it the entire time. The community of people who are producing food for Columbia and have lived in these areas of not only political conflict, but environmental conflict (mining, deforestation)- they are some of the most vulnerable members of the national community – abandoned by the government.
I THINK THE MOST DIFFICULT ISSUE ON A FARM IS MAYBE THE LACK OF RECOGNITION AND SUPPORT THAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP A CREW TOGETHER, CONTENT AND FEELING CONNECTED TO THE PLACE THAT THEY ARE WORKING.
YOU ARE WHO YOU WORK WITH – IN THE BOSS’ SENSE. YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT YOUR CREW. I FEEL THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO HAVE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT WHERE EVERYONE FEELS RESPECTED AND SEEN AND HEARD SO THAT THEY CAN FOCUS ON WHAT THEY ARE THERE TO DO AND NOT WORRY ABOUT OTHER THINGS.
Farmers can be technically perfect in terms of their strategy, but if they don’t have good worker relations, it makes their organization worthless in a way.
For any organization, if it can’t protect the people who make it work, then it’s worthless and poisonous to the community.
How can I support my mom off of this field? My goal since I was a kid was to give my mom a good life when she retires. Sometimes I freak out about it and I’m just a little afraid that I might not have the talent or grit – well the grit I have because I never give up on things… it’s just scary to think I might struggle supporting my mom in her old age. I feel that responsibility personally.
I enjoy working on farms. Even if it’s 97 degrees outside and I’m feeling nauseated because it’s hot, I get ecstatic in the middle of it because I think I’m doing something awesome and something that I enjoy. I enjoy weeding! I have found my community here. There has only been two instances in my life where I’ve found community, and this is one of them.