There are many misconceptions of what today’s famer does.
That is partly because there is a huge difference between the way many farmers practice today — comparing large agribusiness farmers with smaller, local farmers — and today’s consumers are so far removed from where they get their food.
Over the last several decades, more small farmers have been taken over by large agribusiness firms like Monsanto and Tyson, replacing traditional farming techniques with streamlined manufacturing processes.
While many journalists have aimed to document the processes undergone by agribusiness, I sought to find out what the day in the life of a local, small farmer looks like.
I recently profiled Jason Pall and Sally Walker, a married couple who own a small farm that uses sustainable growing practices called Glade Road Growing (to see it, visit bit.ly/Pall-Walker).
I wanted to know what a real day at their farm looked like, so I went out not only to see for myself, but to work on the farm with them.
When I arrived at the farm, just a few miles down Glade Road from University Mall, I admired the landscape. There is a steep slope that leads down to the main growing area, which spans about an acre, a washing station at the top of the hill, and bee colonies down the hill off to the right.
I was amazed at how tightly packed the growing area was, with a large field of vegetables and a line of apple tress with various spices growing in the rich adjacent soil.
December looks very different for Pall and Walker compared to their busy growing season, which lasts from February to October, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
The main work includes picking and washing produce that is still good, reorganizing the layout of the land plot and preparing for the upcoming growing season
Pall and Walker had two volunteers helping them pick vegetables from the garden and place them in plastic carts. After picking a full tractor’s worth of fresh vegetables, they drove the tractor up the hill to the washing station.
Because of the dropping temperatures in the winter months, Pall and Walker cannot grow anything new outside, but they can continue to pick the vegetables they have already grown — about half their field is still full of fresh produce, ready to be picked and washed. They can also keep the current produce alive with small, insulated tents that line the fields.
Once they had finished washing all the vegetables, they started a new project with which I was able to help.
The project involved changing out the contents of their insolated tent, in which they grow seedlings.