I spent the summer and fall before the Peace Corps working as a farmhand at Mighty Food Farm, an organic vegetable farm in Pownal, VT. It felt refreshing to change my environment and work. My environment was no longer school and the classroom but the field and my work was no longer teaching but manual labor. My tool was my body. I had worked at another vegetable farm after graduating college so I had some experience but Mighty Food Farm is much larger and certified organic so my exposure to farming and ways to run small businesses increased.
Lisa MacDougall and her partner started Mighty Food Farm when they were in their early 20s. Now Lisa runs the 15 acre farm on her own and it is so inspiring to see such a young woman work so hard in what I think is a historically male dominated profession in the US! The quality of the vegetables is incredible too. One of the perks of the job was that farm crew got to take home vegetables. They are so delicious!!!
I loved working with my hands and being outside all day too. I harvested vegetables (so many different kinds!), weeded, hoed, seeded, and transplanted with a crew of 12 in the summer and 7 in the fall. We had lots of good laughs in the field. Lots of the farm crew members liked to tell jokes (especially puns) and it passed the time well. Sometimes I got bored just using my body in work. I am use to mind stimulation.
I felt really connected to the earth by waking up as the sun rose and going to sleep as the sun set, experiencing birth and death with the crops and the seasons, and getting my hands dirty. I felt like a child playing in the dirt all day, which was fun. I understand the life of manual laborers now more after working on the farm and I have a much greater respect for them than before. They have an extremely tough but necessary job (We all have to eat, and have places to live, so we are entirely reliant on them). Their job is also dependent on the earth and the weather, which I have learned is a volatile thing but which I am amazed by. I loved to hear the birds chirp and the trees screech, feel the wind blow past and riding on the back of the truck, see the beautiful mountains at the distance and the rows of vegetables growing day by day larger, and smell the herbs and flowers. The job at the farm was very nourishing and the perfect temporary job (I finished the season in November) before the Peace Corps. Thank you Lisa and farm crew!!!