I mean I’m so against ownership of anything, at the end of the day, this entire country was never mine. I know about the history of this land. I’m not out here farming because I want to get my own farm and make a dollar. I’m in it more for spiritual and community reasons.
Charlotte has been farming for 3 years. She just finished an 8 month apprenticeship at an heirloom apple orchard and tree nursery in New Mexico.
5 years ago, I didn’t anticipate I’d be in this field. I was really interested in public health and human services (I thought I was going to be a social worker). I was interested in psychology and mental health and through my studies I realized that the heart of the issue comes from our own systems within society that are really problematic.
It started with food – I was really sad, struggling with mental health, and I learned that eating the right foods that were coming from the ground was incredibly vital to my own mental health.
From that it sparked a spiral that I went down recognizing it’s not just me who is struggling and it’s the culture that is struggling. The best way to get to the heart of the culture is to think and look at food systems – that’s where I’m at now, from a mental health/public health standpoint.
Change culture through agriculture. The more you kind of understand the current model of agriculture, you see a lot of mirrors – current ag system, pesticides, herbicides, monocrops, degrading land and degrading physical and mental health. I really wanted to tackle alternative ways – think about new ways about growing and distributing food.
I’m on food stamps. I think that it is almost funny that someone who has devoted their life to learning and growing food holistically needs to rely on government systems to have access to healthy food and pay bills.
IT’S NOT JUST FARMERS WHO ARE WORKING ON OTHER PEOPLE’S FARM, IT’S ALSO FARMERS WHO OWN LAND – THE PEOPLE WHO I WORK FOR STRUGGLE INCREDIBLY. THAT IS REALLY DISHEARTENING FOR A YOUNG FARMER TRYING TO GET INTO AGRICULTURE- YOU CAN BARELY GET BY, AND I SEE MY MENTORS AND ROLE MODELS IN THIS FIELD STRUGGLE.
I think I was born into a culture that has originally manipulated me to think that my life should look a certain way – have certain jobs, usually underneath a bunch of fluorescent lighting.
It’s been perpetuating ideas that are violent, subtly violent and colonizing.
Farming is a way of resisting that – we are all preachers of mother earth. My culture has removed me so much away from the natural systems and the natural work. It’s the only way to resist these systems that are essentially deteriorating my own mental, physical and spiritual mental health. It’s my own way of resisting – I’d like to think of myself and this act as radical.
There is much shit that I don’t have control over in society. Understanding the natural world and working with it is a way to not gain control, but to work with a system, rather than have a system work me, control me, you know?
I just came from a farm that didn’t have any children – the owners are aging out, their bodies are ready to retire, quite frankly. It’s only about 11 acres and they need to find someone to take over their business. But! Them as farmers are not ready to give that up. They aren’t ready to embrace changes, new ideas, new approaches to the property/land that they have stewarded their whole lives. There is also an issue of translation, passing land on. There is a disconnect between young and old farmers – landowners, who care deeply about the land. A resistance to change. It’s not just the operation that I’ve just been working at.
There is a lot of resistance to change in the way we steward the land that isn’t ours.
I want to reiterate how important holistic farmers are. They are so important to society and they are so disrespected. That is really heartbreaking because they are the backbone and I think with this pandemic, maybe people are starting to realize that – people are more so applauding western medicine and front line workers,
but I don’t know, doctors, farmers and nurses, man.