Mey Dolce-Bun (she/her)

I do call myself a farmer. I’ve worked to that place where I can say that I’m a farmer.

Mey has been farming for 7 seasons in Maryland, New York & Ohio, and currently works at a year-round 20 acre flower farm in Columbus. She got her start farming by working the farmers’ markets in NYC.

Initially when I first started farming, I was always asked what my plans are in the next 5 years – my answer was always that I wanted to start my own farm.

The more I worked among other young farmers and saw friends who started their own business and the struggles they go through with not having enough capital, having 2-3 jobs in order to support themselves, I just found it difficult to do it on my own.

Right now, would I want to have my own farm? The answer would be no.

Most of my experiences farming (until now) have been working on non-profit farms. These farms need to write grants to pay the apprentices. I just felt overworked and underpaid, but also not getting the recognition that we should have gotten from the organization.

The issues were outside versus inside people. Farmers versus administrators.

There was a clash of understanding difficulties of presenting certain things in a perfect way. 

The folks who work in the office don’t really understand the struggles of the apprentices or farm manager: the day to day heavy lifting, hard work, grueling hours. They just see the end product, and don’t understand how much work goes into producing a radish.

I am currently working on a dream farm!

Working with like minded folks who have the same end goal, and the end goal is to make our customers happy. And also there is open, transparent communication.

I feel comfortable talking to the owners about anything, and being upfront about work or people – they just made it a space where we can talk to each other. I think that they have worked hard so that their employees feel that they can express themselves and talk pretty candidly and not feel judged. I want to work for these people because I care about them – it’s a cool business and I want them to succeed.

i’m very lucky. I found my current farm through the Young Farmers conference 5 years ago – they left their business card there at the job fair. I grabbed it. My wife is from Ohio, and I thought one day if we ever come here, this is a place that I can work at. I kept this card and kept them in my mind. When I moved here, it’s seriously the only job I interviewed for and I was really hoping they would hire me. I was banking on this farm crew position. I left it to fate to see what would happen.

I am a Cambodian American queer person in the farming world, and I haven’t met many people of color in the farming industry. Not at the farms that I work on. I would like to meet more folks – people of color and queer people.

The pay at the current farm I’m at is good compared to the apprenticeship programs I’ve worked at that are either minimum wage payment or a stipend.

I think there should be better pay regardless of it being an apprenticeship. 

I think when you put the word apprentice in front, it’s like an internship, but the work is the same as the farm crew or farm manager, so why do apprentices have to get a stipend or less pay?

Farming- there’s never a dull moment. I learn so much every single day. It challenges me in my brain. Being around people who are also as excited as I am to produce something that gives joy to other people.

I try to join CSAs and stuff and be connected to that world even if i’m not working around vegetables.