First Day at the Farm
Today I was able to gain some real life experience and a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at a small local farm. As a small farm practicing organic farming methods, it is difficult to keep up production high enough to match the conventional producers that are supplying food for the area. As a consumer, I have always been told that small organic farming methods bring much difficulty, but I never really understood until today. I have been on similar farms in the past for short periods of time, but this was my first full day working in this environment and I can now see why there are so few small farms. From watering, to weeding, to planting, things that I take for granted everyday were no longer so easy to come by.
Overall, I have two main takeaways from my first day on the job. First is the labor intensity that this type of farming entails. The story of the day was pest control. This is something that you don’t see when you drive by huge farm fields five minutes down the road because conventional farming methods include insecticides and herbicides that keep these pests out of the equation, almost completely. However, the small organic farmer deals with these issues every day, and the methods required to manage pests are often times physical removal, which is both labor intensive and time consuming. I plan on understanding how these farmers intend to keep up with the large conventional farms throughout the summer.
Secondly, once the crop is harvested, the access to consumers is very different for small local farmers compared to the conventional farming industry. Their sales are very dependent on the local community and businesses, as well as the public knowledge of the importance and benefits of locally grown food. This is something that I will get a better understanding of in the near future as our crops are sold to local vendors. I am interested to see how different it is than just going to the grocery store. I will say that I tasted a carrot right out of the ground today, and it was sweeter than any other carrot I have ever had from the grocery store. I’m torn as a consumer, because there are pros and cons to buying both local organic and conventionally grown food. I hope to soon understand more about the benefits of locally grown food and how to translate that into educating others on the importance and health benefits of it in order to support all local farmers in the area.