CSA Newsletter 5/29 – Growing Together
When you think of the stereotypical farmer, you might imagine someone who is quiet, peaceful, and spends a lot of time alone. They may be an introvert, or just antisocial, and prefer the company of plants to that of other people. But my experience working at Red Dog has been just the opposite. In fact, I came to the farm as a fairly quiet introvert, and have transformed into a boisterous extrovert.
Being on farm crew means that you spend your entire day working with a group of people. We solve problems, communicate constantly, finish projects, and do the majority of the harvesting with our hands and knives. Being on field crew builds camaraderie, teamwork, and trust. We must speak up on the radios, ask for help, offer help, and show up for one another to accomplish everything we do.
But there is another part of field crew which doesn’t seem quite as obvious. When you spend hours and hours harvesting with the same group of people over the course of months, and for the lucky among us, years, you learn a lot about your coworkers. We tend to have all the normal conversations that occur among people. We talk about our weekends, the weather, what we’re eating for lunch, what we’re doing after work, and what we’re doing for the next weekends. We cover favorite colors, vegetables, places, foods, pickups, boots, bibs, raincoats, tinctures, and hot sauces.
After you cover all that territory, you can’t just harvest in silence. So, we get deeper, learning about each other’s childhoods, fears, sorrows, embarrassments, and dreams. We build so much trust, understanding, and empathy for one another that we often talk about our struggles in life, problems we’re working through, and triumphs we celebrate. Nothing is too serious, too heavy, or too shallow for a conversation in the parsley beds. There have been many days when I have come to work weighed down by sadness, anger, or frustration, and worked through those emotions with my coworkers. We aren’t just growing vegetables; we’re building friendships, working through problems, and growing as people. Not many people can say that about their work, and for that we are truly lucky.