Kyle currently works at a non-profit in upstate New York operating a mobile farmers’ market whose mission is to bring food/fresh produce to anyone and everyone, including food desolate areas, nursing homes, senior living facilities and lower income areas.
They have spent several years all across the globe working in agriculture, including working on a pesticide prevention program in the Peace Corps, to working at a horticultural therapy inpatient program on the Big Island in Hawaii, to WWOOF-ing on farms in CA, AZ and OR.
I farm to learn something and meet new people. It’s why I continue to travel and do things to get out of my comfort zone…to meet people- it’s the craziest thing in the world to show up on a farm and become great friends with a person, and stay in each other’s lives. To think I would never have known this person existed if I hadn’t gone to the farm.
As a queer trans Latinx person, how do you pick farms that are safe?
I pick locations that are more populated – I wouldn’t have as much luck on a farm in Nebraska being myself.
It’s also why I relied on WWOOFing a lot – I read the profiles, can read reviews and comments from other WWOOFers . a lot of farms have facebook pages or websites…I can base it off of comments: if it says, “went here and person started saying all this stuff and didn’t like how I dress” – maybe I shouldn’t go there. Or something else “Come here, they welcome you with open arms”. I would lean more to go there, sometimes that’s less common than not, sadly.
I also tend to stay in coastal areas where it’s more liberal than not.
I’m a queer Latinx farmer, so it’s always important for me to find somewhere to be safe to live my life.
I have to research a lot of things to figure out where I can go.
The best farm time I had was in Oregon, just outside Portland by about 30 minutes. This profile said LGBT encouraged and welcomed: okay, that’s where I’m going to go! It was the best time – I was there for 2 months. It was woman owned and operated; you don’t see that too often. The woman who owned it was such a badass. I always thought, “I wish that I am you in 15 years.” She would kayak, white water raft, and haul ass. I learned a lot. She owned a few preschools, and we had lambs, chickens, pigs, and a bunch of crops. All of it would help feed the preschools. There were 10-12 of us there at a time – rotating.
When I ended up leaving there, I had killed 135 chickens, helped deliver a piglet, rode a tractor, all the things I could never do living in the city. I think it’s kind of funny because I could go to Portland all the time, and I only ended up going to Portland once because I loved being on the farm and off the grid.
I don’t think I would start my own farm. I move around a lot.
If you’re a cook, you can go and work at all these different restaurants. I like the idea of having the knowledge of doing this (farming), and then learning in different parts of the world.
I can go to Oregon for 2 months – go to France and make my own wine, and learn that aspect of agriculture.
I CAN GO ANYWHERE AND LEARN THIS TRADE AND BE ESSENTIAL TO THE NEXT FARM I DECIDE TO GO TO.
The thought of owning land and staying in one place freaks me out.
My friends might call me a farmer, which I think is a true honor.
I don’t think I have all the knowledge to even call myself a farmer. I hold that title to such high revere.
I don’t think I would be a farmer based on my standards. Maybe an honoree – just a little tractor boy or ‘first tractor.’
In my heart of hearts, I’m quite a minimalist. I like living in an off the grid situation. Having wifi now and again is not the worst, but to have these conversations with people, or to be able to hear nothing, or absence of cars, just hear rain or the birds!”
Where I grew up, I lived by a highway and a train station in the city. I’m trying to make up for that time.
My family really likes luxury, and I’m very different from them. I like to try living outside of how I used to live.