A few years ago, I was sitting in my parents’ storage room, looking back through old paintings and class projects that I had done as a child. I came upon a wrinkled kindergarten worksheet. On it, I had drawn a stick figure me, sporting a big straw hat and brandishing a pitchfork. The caption below the drawing said, “When I grow up, I want to be a faRmeR .”
I was surprised to see this, as I had no memory of early agricultural inklings. These childish dreams of dirt and pigs and plants soon gave way to other “more grown-up” aspirations. After experimenting with such mature professions as substitute teacher, raft guide, EMT, bike messenger, and seamstress, I revisited my childhood ambition.
While my renewed interest in agriculture began as a hobby, I quickly discovered that farming was the perfect lifestyle for me. Farming was dynamic, physically rigorous, independent, outside work and I loved it. Growing food responsibly and sustainably gave me a sense of accomplishment and environmental stewardship. I knew I wanted to be a farmer and to one day raise my family on my own farm.
Following my kindergarten dream, I attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins to study Soil and Crop Science with a minor in Organic Agriculture. I worked on various farms with diverse crops and production styles, learning to grow, market, and manage. Last year, a long-time friend and employer in Lewiston, Idaho offered a portion of his land to me to start a small vegetable farm. Though it has taken me twenty years, I am finally becoming who my 6-year-old self knew I should be: a farmer (complete with straw hat and pitchfork).