Cristina is in her 4th season farming, and has been at the same farm the entire time. Her focus now is on cut flowers, and Cristina farms alongside a vegetable farmer on an urban farm in Washington, DC.
Farming is hard work. When I think of building a farm that would make me the most happy, I think that really needs to happen in community… partly because the work is so hard, and partly because that is how I understand farming to be.
When I hear my dad tell stories of being out in the field, it’s ‘many hands make light work.’ He was at the tail end of the Bracero program traveling back from Mexico season to season and coming back to the States depending on what crop was being harvested. He spoke of a reuniting of sorts with his fellow farmers during harvest.
I think that’s why when I think of my future in farming – I want to do it in community.
In the cut flower industry, I’m a drop in the bucket. We need more folks of color who are growing and running the operations.
“Among farmers and farm owners, the examples don’t look like us. I’m focusing in on that component of how much my work matters- rooting more deeply in what I’m doing and doing it with confidence and heart, so that others can see me doing it.
Farming conferences are dominated by white faces, and even in the moments where maybe a Board has taken time and effort to provide keynote speakers who are folks of color and prominent voices in the field, there needs to be spaces where white farmers can deal with their feelings on their own.
Maybe some facilitation from someone who is adept in issues of whiteness, and how it manifests itself in this industry. It’s more than just doing their duty to get a keynote person, and thinking that’s enough.
It’s not enough because it often leads to averted gazes, awkward conversations and people of color doing emotional labor in return.
I think if we all understood the food chain a little better, we would all have a better hold on how the climate is spiraling.
I love improving the small piece of earth that I’m on. I’ve enjoyed building the soil with the hope of inspiring people to do the same right where they are.
In a winter anxiety burst, I decided to start to jog. I took to running a couple nights a week, and took a turn one day and jogged past the farm. Long story short, I started volunteering and joined the harvest team. I fell in love and now I understand more as I uncover my own story and narrative.