I don’t even know who I am without this thing. That feeling and that connection to my identity is something that feels so good to me.
Collette has farmed on farms not her own for 8 years, off and on. She is currently farming her own cut flower operation on ½ acre in Pittsburgh, PA.
Her farming has included an urban farm in Alabama, a 15 acre CSA farm in upstate New York, and an apprenticeship program at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems in Santa Cruz.
I grew up in Brooklyn and we raised chickens in our backyard when I was in high school. There was also an urban farm in my neighborhood that I helped out at a couple summers in high school and college – it peaked my interest. I have always been a tactile person – I went to school and did that, but never felt like school was something that was where I was at or where I excelled. I was a solid student, but it never really resonated with me, but being able to be really physical always resonated.
I don’t want to own my own farm. I think for a long time I did – now I don’t. It becomes all consuming – it takes over your life for 8-9 months of the year. I love that, but also the older I get, the more I want to have more control over my days.
FarminG: it’s your life the second it’s light out until it’s dark. Whenever it’s just you, I think there is a lot that you carry.
I’m just in the process of figuring out what that medium is. Having a business partner, or a farming partner? I don’t have the desire to farm with a romantic partner, but I do have a desire to farm with another person to take on the responsibilities.
I’m a city kid, a lot of my farming has been in urban spaces.
I’d love to be farming in the city, creating space for folks that is visible, that people can be involved in and feel connected to.
It’s easier to employ people that way and come out to the farm when you’re in the city.
Having a farm in the city can combat isolation – if I want to go dancing at night, I could go do that if I have the energy.
IT FEELS INGRAINED IN MY BODY AND IN MY MIND, IT FEELS LIKE SOMETHING I HAVE TO DO AT THIS POINT BECAUSE I’VE BEEN DOING IT FOR AWHILE.
ESPECIALLY THIS TIME OF YEAR, WHEN THINGS ARE STARTING TO BLOOM, WARMTH IN THE AIR, IT FEELS REALLY RIGHT TO ME TO BE WORKING OUTSIDE.
IT JUST FEELS BUILT INTO MY DNA.