At my root being – I want to be a changemaker in food and farming spaces, and I’m able to do that as a farmer.
Bari has been farming on farms not her own for 6 seasons. She recently took a position at a farm collective centering refugee farmers and farmers of color, and working on land and food access.
She has worked extensively in the gig economy, federal policy + congressional campaigns all while prepping her own a 12 acre parcel.
I moved to North carolina to work on an organic permaculture farm, a way of life farm.
At that time I had plans to go to law school, so I was working on the farm, living in a 1980s camper, studying with my headlamp in the evenings and mornings for the LSAT, and I took the LSAT while I was at the farm.
Overtime, I realized my real passion and what galvanizes me is the work in the field.
I realized that law school was a cerebral compromise between society, familial pressures and what I wanted to do, which was to farm.
Agriculture is a nexus for a lot of issues and themes in our culture and society and I gravitate toward that.
At one farm, I had a living stipend, part of my pay was this hardly livable stipend, and rice, beans and pork from their farm.
At the time I was a vegetarian so I had a real contention with it, and had to eat this meat to subsist. It was a silvopasture operation, with a positive impact of animals, but it was a difficult pressure to change my lifestyle.
Had I been a person of less privilege, this would have been untenable; I wouldn’t have been able to make car payments, or live. And I had nothing left at the end of week – nothing in my mental or physical fuel tank to work another job to supplement my income.
THERE IS SUCH MENTAL ISOLATION FARMING IN RURAL PLACES, NO CAR OR CONNECTION. SOMETIMES YOU FEEL EXTREMELY LONELY, WHICH IS WHAT SOME ARE LEARNING DURING PANDEMIC. LONELINESS CAN BE SUCH A PHYSICAL AND MENTAL AILMENT.
(It’s an issue) not having any time off and working 60-80 hours/week, and having to take personal care. I worked on a farm where I was negligent of my self- care, and ended up really dehydrated and got UTI. Even having health insurance based in another state, I couldn’t find any health care provider or urgent care that would take my insurance. I had to self treat and use homeopathic remedies. I needed antibiotics, but I was lucky. I’m really lucky it didn’t become a kidney infection.
I’ve worked on progressive farms, alongside people who identified as male. The men learned how to drive the tractor and truck, and I was doing very gender based roles on the farms.