A Legacy of Farm Work
As I begin another harvest day on the farm, I look up and see the beauty of the mountains and trees around me and hear the conversation and laughter of my coworkers starting the day. Later, as I cut spinach and I look at the soil on my hands, I can’t help but think of my grandfather, who worked on farms here in Washington so long ago.
My grandfather is, in a way, still here. Growing up, I was often told about my grandparents’ work as migrant farm workers. I listened to my aunts, uncles and cousins talk about favorite crops they harvested and places of the country they saw. My mother spoke of it with such fondness, at times tearing up as she remembered working alongside her father before he passed away. Farm work was just always part of my family history, and I got the chance to experience the excitement of traveling to work across the country when I was 15 and 16, when I worked alongside my mother and uncle’s family for two summers in high school. The hard work I experienced in the sugar beet fields had such an abundance of reward that I often return to those lessons as an adult.
When my older daughter became 15, I wondered if I’d get the chance to show her what this tradition in my family means: that working the land with such dedication and earnestness only comes from a passion and way of life that couldn’t be more worthwhile. Last Thanksgiving, we looked through old pictures and told stories of my farm work with my uncle, and my daughter said, “I’d like to do that too someday.”
So here we are now, my 16-year-old-daughter and I working together on Red Dog Farm, and I couldn’t feel more grateful that I’m here. The richness of this experience has changed the perspective she has of the world, and that is the most important thing to me. So thank you Red Dog Farm for allowing me the opportunity to continue the legacy my grandfather started and for showing us so much love and kindness. We’ll carry these memories back home with us to my younger daughter, and hopefully we’ll be back for harvest next summer. Thank you!