Shoshana has been farming on farms not her own for 3 seasons.
She has woven in and out of farming over the years, working in reforestation, going to graduate school, and working as a wildlife tech, before coming back to farming and committing to it as a career.
Farming satisfies my frustration with the world and helps me find the space that I can do that in.
Farming provides the platform for us to tackle problems that most affect us and our families: there are nonprofits that teach people how to use fresh, local food, then the whole climate change issue – we are capturing carbon into our soil as much as possible – everybody is tackling what means the most to them through farming.
It relieves a personal burden on me to solve all the problems, which is impossible. It’s nice to be in a community where people really care about what they are doing and have a reason for being there.
My family looks at me with a little bit of envy and a little bit of “you’ll get over this” sort of thing.
I remember being in my early 20s and thinking that I’m going to live a certain way.
I’m constantly justifying myself to other people and to myself that it is a legitimate job and you don’t have to own your own farm to be considered a farmer.
Two things brought me to the fields – one I got my degree in environmental science and biology so I was already interested in conservation and ecology as a field.
Then my brother signed my parents up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and that was my first real introduction into it. I picked up CSA one time and asked about helping out on the farm. It was my first volunteer experience. I really loved it.
That’s how I initially got into it: through my degree, becoming more aware of our food system and how multifaceted that is and then the perfect timing of my brother going through similar discovery process.
Something that “keeps me up at night” is preserving my body for the long run.
I’m 27, so i’m pretty youthful. I can work hard and bounce back from it fairly easily, and I don’t have pain keeping me up at night.
But I also don’t ever want to get to that point.
It’s a really physically demanding job – especially on a small scale, mostly hand tools and hand labor. It’s definitely something I think about. How do I care for my body so I can be doing this when I’m 40 or 50 and still feel healthy and without pain?
I got short term disability insurance because my boyfriend advised me to – in case I get injured on the job so I have a way to live still. Thankfully I have a family that is supportive so if I did end up with a crazy medical bill I know that they would be able to help me out in some way.
Another question that keeps me up at night:
How do farms provide a stable and respectful workplace?
- Farms need to provide careers, not just jobs, to their employees.
- Not everyone is or needs to be an entrepreneur.
- The farm managers and farm hands cannot constantly be on the move searching for another job. That is unsustainable for both the owners and employees.
There are some farms out there that have great employee retention, and I would love for that to be more common. However, this issue also reaches beyond the scope of the small business and into our larger economic and social problems that influence how small businesses operate.
I certainly do not have all the answers, or know all the questions to ask yet, but it’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about.
I would say that the farming industry at large being propped up by subsidies and grant money is not a sustainable business model within a capitalist system.