A Farmer’s Life for Me

Why did I choose to be a farmer/home-maker/gardener/food educator/cook? Honestly? I can’t really think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

I am twenty years old, which to some is far to young to be making such a bold decision, and to be settling down as they say. I can understand their sentiment but I don’t feel twenty and the fact that I am twenty is like a bonus and means that what I start now I will be alive and competent to enjoy for many years to come. Especially since we are planting an orchard which means that when I am in my thirties we will be harvesting it, and will have the next 70 years to continue harvesting. I think I am very fortunate to be so young and going into farming, and I am so glad I came to my senses early in life to realize the vital importance of setting down roots, literally and figuratively. I will continue to blog about my experiences being young for a young farmer during this “Food Revolution” as they like to call it.

I have traveled more than I’d say the average twenty-year-old Vermonter has, I graduated early from high-school and took a trip with my two friends to France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and then spent the last two months in India. I’ve also been to back to France twice now, to England and Japan. Traveling means something different for everyone, and for me it reinforced my sense of place, in Tinmouth Vermont. I went to school in NYC for one semester and realized just how much city life wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted for myself. I moved back to Tinmouth and lived with Josh while going to Goddard College studying food systems and local agriculture. My first semester there was really when I knew food was what I wanted for my life. I did a lot of cooking during that time, and became a localvore in the middle of March, which was both challenging and rewarding. That semester was when I really began to think about my food choices, and became very passionate about where my dollars went and who I supported with them.

Josh and I have continued to be conscious eaters and eating as locally as possible. For two young people who moved four times in one year meant we had no root cellar full of veggies and no canned goods preserved for us. We made do on our limited income, and it was a great experience to see what was available to someone not growing their own food but who wanted to eat locally, it is possible but not easy. Last summer we had our own market garden, which provided us with wonderful veggies that we are still enjoying through canned tomato soups, mountains of frozen winter squash, and trunks full of winter squash and potatoes.

In the summer of 2009 I got involved with food access through a job working for the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link coordinating their first Grow the Longest Extra Row (GLER) program. This involved working with farmers and local meal sites and charitable food programs in the Rutland area and bringing them fresh vegetables gleaned from the farmer’s market or fields. Last summer I worked for the Vermont Foodbank as their Central Vermont Field Representative, coordinating their gleaning program in central Vermont. That experience also brought home to me the importance of food access and the enormity of the food insecurity problems in Vermont. Last summer I also co-coordinated a Gardens For Learning program (GFL) in Bradford Vermont. It took place in the Bradford Community Garden that my co-coordinator and me started earlier that spring. The GFL program consisted of three parts, gardening, cooking, and nutrition. We had all ages come and participate and had a great time playing in the garden, making yummy vegetable creations, and learning about why we should be eating them. It was so much fun and I hope to do something similar in the Rutland Area.

A huge part of my overall obsession with food is imparting a similar passion onto the next generation. In this age of wii’s and game boys, McDonalds and Hot pockets, I find that our children and their pallets are becoming distanced from the natural world and more inclined towards the higher processed lifestyle full of less nutritious foods and less time outside. It is amazing to me to find kids even in this rural state of Vermont who do not where vegetables come from. It is astounding, and having consequences on our children’s mental and physical health. I would like to spend my life building in kids, a sense of pride and respect for what the natural world has to offer them. I want to make them so curious about how things are created, and grown, that they put down their wii sticks or iphones and spend five minutes looking at a plant or a beetle, or something native to this planet earth that we so take for granted.

Besides writing about being a young farmer, food insecurity, and why kids should play in the dirt I’ll also be writing about one of my favorite pastimes, cooking. I love to play in the kitchen, I am terrible about following recipes but find that I come up with some tasty dishes all of my own. I like the challenge of working with winter vegetables especially, some of you may know that feeling of dread when you know that your winter squash is getting soft but you can’t think of anything different to do with it besides bake it. It seems like in both seasons there is always too much squash, and that is one of my favorite vegetables to experiment with because they are surprisingly versatile, and great in both sweet and savory dishes. I will be writing about all my kitchen experiences whether or not they defeat me or come out triumphant, and hope that you will share in my culinary adventures.

Josh and I are incredibly lucky to have our land in Tinmouth. I have my family to thank for that, especially my father who bought the land when he wasn’t much older than me with his own homestead on his mind. Now thirty years later I feel like I am fulfilling that dream, and making it my own. I come from six generations of farmer’s in the Rutland Area, including the infamous John Squier, my grandfather, and a well-known character in and out of the farming community. There is a sense of pride I get from continuing a family tradition of farming in this area and sharing the fruits and veggies of my labors with all our neighbors. Josh and I have some very ambitious plans for our orchards and we couldn’t have done it without the access to our beautiful mountain hollow home in the wilds of Tinmouth Vermont.

My passion for food and the future is what brought me to where I am today, twenty and starting out in this adventurous agrarian lifestyle. I hope you enjoy reading our blog, and I will do my best to keep up to date with the happenings around us. You may have noticed that I am not as factual a writer as Josh is, so I will be writing the more meandering personnel blog posts about what it is like on our farm, while josh gives you the nitty gritty on our systems and experiments.

May you be well-fed and cozy warm on these winter days,


February 15th, 2011|

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  1. cyn February 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    how gret to have both points of view..and how nice of you to share

  2. cyn February 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    oops.. or great

  3. Eileen Allen August 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    I was missing your infamous grandfather, today, and just for fun punched his name in the browser and was VERY pleased to read about your endeavors and family traditions. I am very proud of your choices and look forward to reading the future of Breezy Meadows Orchards & Nursery. As well as your kitchen experiments!
    Much love, Aunt Eileen

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