As you scroll through the highlight reel of Instagram, it may look like I’m frolicking through fields of flowers all day long but that just is not the reality of what is actually happening on a daily basis. I get messages all day long saying how magical flower farming must be and how fun playing with flowers must be. Please don’t get me wrong I love what I do but I’m here to tell you, its hard! Farming of any kind is not for everyone and as much as the internet makes it look , not everyone can be a farmer. Now don’t get me wrong anyone can buy a piece of property and plant a garden, get some chickens and try and live a more sustainably life and I encourage it. But If you think you want to become an intense farmer who works their land ask yourself these questions:
- Am I willing to put the lives and needs of animals, plants and my farm before my own comfort?
- Am I willing to work in any weather conditions no mater the time of day and not take a day off or vacations?
- Am I willing to do hard physical labor from sun up to sun down and when I fall ,get up and keep going no matter what?
- Are you willing to work really hard and have no control over what may happen that can devastate everything you worked for?
If any of those questions scared you or caused you to question if you could do them, then farming might not be for you . Also Please understand when I use the term farming I mean a production farm. A farm whether that is small or large scale intense farm that produces a crop for resale. Now please know no one is perfect and is the best at those things mentioned in the questions above all the time. We are all human and have short comings and fail sometimes. I by no means want to talk anyone out of farming by writing this blog post. I beleive anyone can learn and if you want it bad enough you can make anything possible . I am just here to shed some hard truths about what it takes and to make sure no one goes in to this not knowing the hard truths.
Flower Farming and farming in general and all it encompasses is the type of hard I enjoy so it keeps me going, but to put it lightly flower farmers deserve a freaking award for the type of work they do. It means no matter the weather rain or snow you are out there breaking your back getting up and down. I don’t know about you but the older I get bending over and over and getting up and down off the ground all day long gets harder and harder by the day!!
I’m officially at that age that I groan or grunt when prying myself up off the ground . I have officially become my mother!! Farmers are not the type of people who put comfort before work. Well maybe in their clothing choices but sitting on the couch is not typically an option. I always find it funny when you get people saying in the colder months how it must be so nice to get a break. Yes there are slower months but the work to prepare for the warmer months is done in the colder months. I wouldn’t trade my job for any other job in the world so please don’t take this as me complaining or looking for sympathy because that is not the case. I am here to shed light on what the life of farmer entails and the sacrifices it takes to produce.
Have you ever heard the saying ” Never trust a skinny cook” ? Well I think you should never trust a farmer with clean finger nails! HAHA I am kind of of kidding when I say this because there might be a day or two that you clip and groom them or during the winter months your hands get a little break, but if your hands aren’t dirty , you aren’t doing the work. Its funny too because when I do stories or take pictures and my hands are dirty or my finger nails have an inch of dirt under them I get self conscious of showing them. I should be proud and not hide them as they show how hard I work but society has told me as a woman my nails are supposed to be pretty so there is this brief moment of shame. I hate how we have been brainwashed in this way that we have to fit in to this perfect little picturesque bubble. I will say though as I get older the less I care !! I swear I am gonna be that little old lady out gardening naked drinking a margarita when I am older and I am definitely looking forward to that!!
When you really want to get down to it flower farming or farming in general is not glamourous. What you see online or on T.V. is not what it actually takes. I think in only showing the beauty that our farms produce we have convinced the world that they all want to be farmers. When you break it down to numbers and the facts, The numbers don’t lie. Did you know that only 1.3% of the US population are famers but they are responsible to feed the remaining 98.7%. I think the farmhouse movement that Joanna Gaines and HGTV started kind of painted this picture that any one can farm. Now don’t get me wrong anyone can buy or build a farmhouse on a piece of property and plant a garden, get some chickens and try and live a more sustainably life and I encourage it. That simple life is what the majority of the world is craving right now it the times we are living in but to farm land it takes a whole different kind of person.
I know I am making a bold statement by saying this and please don’t hold it against me. Its just my opinion. I am not In anyway trying to offend or belittle anyone for making this statement . Heck I couldn’t do a normal 9-5 corporate job or sit in office . I couldn’t do most jobs that a lot of other people can do and that’s ok with me. Everyone gets to find what works for them and farming is what I love and what works for me.
Not only is farming physically hard its mentally so exhausting. I will say the hardest part for me mentally is the stress of the unknown. In farming you are at the mercy of mother nature. You can be at the top of your game doing everything right and still have no control over something that can completely devastate everything you have worked for. You can not predict or set concrete dates for things or even really lock in plans for your future because mother nature might have other plans. When planting out you have a general idea and that’s all you can go off of. There is no way to tell exactly when something is going to bloom or when something will be available so its a gamble when marketing your product that isn’t even grown yet. This year I took a huge leap of faith and sold Spring Bouquet subscriptions. It is such a hard thing for me to wrap my head around. Taking money from someone for something that hasn’t even emerged from the ground is a stressful thing for me! The constant thought of what if the flowers don’t grow. What if I fail.
If you go in to farming with the mindset there is no failures just lessons it will greatly change your outlook on your every day tasks.
There is a great deal of unknowns and takes a great deal of faith to get through a season of growing. I am a spiritual person who strongly believes that This is my purpose so when I make decisions I trust my gut. I have faith that in that decision I will either succeed or learn a lesson that will help me in my future. You have to be resilient to things not working out. You can’t throw in the towel at the first thing that doesn’t work. It’s a learning curve and when something doesn’t work you now have the knowledge and experience to go forward . I have talked to farmers with decades of experience who still kill things and even with all that time in the industry . It happens less and less the more experience you have but even the most seasoned farmers have things not work out for them and that’s ok.
I was blessed with some great neighbors and one in particular who has been farming his land for over 50 years. He has experience and knowledge that money cant buy. I soak up every word he says when it comes to farming and lean on him for a great deal of insight . He owns the land very close to mine and has seen my land change drastically over the years as new owners have taken over through out the years before I purchased it. He knows what it used to look like, What used to grow where and can tell me more about my land than I can and he is such a valuable asset to me in my farming journey. He is 80 years old and works his 13 acre high producing farm by himself, and he does it with ease. He has so much understanding of how his land runs and functions that he no longer questions things. He can use his experience to guide him and its really amazing to watch and hear how he looks at things. Now he cant tell me about the latest gadgets or how to market my product in todays world as he still pays money every month to put ads in the newspaper but what he can tell me is valuable things that truly help me understand how to farm my land . I encourage you to reach out to older people in your area and ask questions. Yes you will get stuck listening to their stories for hours that you have already heard 12 times but the wisdom that they have can be a huge game changer in farming your land.
I hope in me sharing some insight with you today that you can have a better understanding of what it takes to farm and I hope that when you see local farms and farmers you have a better understanding of how hard that person worked to produce it. Farming is hard yall and supporting your local farmer is something that can make a significant impact in their life’s.
Until Next time.