Emily Parsons (She/her)

Emily has been farming on farms not her own for 14 years. She is currently taking a farming gap year with her partner in Vashon, Washington. 

We wanted to spend this year –our farming gap year – seeing what it feels like to not be farming for our main source income. Where does all of our growing energy go ?

Farming was just a summer job that I always had. When I was an undergrad, I worked on the school’s organic veggie farm and it was run by women and it was awesome. It was an educational place, a super beautiful haven and magic space. that was a really great crew and situation. They had a lot of freedom within the university, and everyone who worked there had a really fun time.

Now I’m chasing the dragon of finding the perfect crew. 
We call it:
the ‘well-oiled machine’ (WOM) 
I really usually enjoy not having ownership, but things do come up.
I never thought of the farms as a long term homes.
At one farm, the owners joked that they would will it to me. Even the name of the farm represented their family.
I felt like the land was mine, the farm was mine, the relationship was mine,
but I was not part of that family. I had talked to them too and said that it would have been different and people might have stayed longer with a more inclusive name – it would have been a paradigm shift for me. 

My dream is to be part of a farming collective and if money was no object in my life, I would like to turn it into a version of eden and invite people to come do their thing on it. 

It’s my preferred lifestyle and I feel really in tune with everything. The seasons, the moon and the earth. I feel extremely connected when I’m farming.

Exercising is that for some people or therapy, friendship…so many things that make you feel balanced and aware and engaged and fulfilled, and farming is that for me.

I’m in it for the challenge, the beauty, the physicality.

How do we engage with capitalism?

Do we keep growing this superior organic product that is so labor intensive and try to convince people to pay more for it? That hustle has been so stressful for me in what was a generally not stressful place – we had great soil conditions and infrastructure. 

Growing was easy, selling was stressful. 

What made me happy was giving the food away – it lit me up.

In the future, once my partner and I feel like we’ve kind of taken some space from the grind of farming, our long term goal is to start a food bank farm – “Free for All Farm”