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From August 19th to the 29th I spent some time on Irvine Creek Organics Farm. I did a lot of learning on this adventure. When I was younger, I played a video game called Harvest Moon, and boy, did I enjoy it. It’s all repetition, planting, farming, harvesting and bonding with the locals. It was all so simple and wholesome and easy, and so when I went to a real farm, somehow I expected it to be like that.
Obviously real farming isn’t at all like a simplistic video game, though. It’s really hard work!
It was a short bike ride from the barn to the real farm land, and once there, looking out onto the land, it was easy to sense the pride coming off the head farmer and the interns. They all loved what they do so much. It was infectious.
There were a lot of weeds, in amongst the many vegetables that feed over 50 CSA members. But weeding, wow. Weeding is tough. There are many tools to make it easier, yet it’s still a huge challenge. Obviously I knew farming would be hard, but somehow, I didn’t realize that it would be this hard.
I felt like I always knew how to farm in the back of my head, but once on the ground I realized I didn’t. How deep should these seeds be planted? And how far apart should they be from another seed? We ended up planting many things. It felt so special to be doing it, too. It was like I had become a new part of the food chain, and not just a consumer.
Harvesting was really cool, too. A lot of vegetables are harvested in different ways, with different techniques for each, so as to not damage them. I never thought they would all be so different, and I never did master harvesting carrots.
That sore-muscle feeling is also very rewarding. It lets you know that you worked really hard with a set of muscles that are rarely used. It’s gratifying, rewarding and fresh.
I’m shocked by how much I learned while I was on the farm. Everyone knows that farming is putting seeds in the ground, minding the plants, then selling them, but there is so much more you learn when you try it. I never thought that I would ever enjoy farming, but it is rewarding and prideful work.
After feeling that small hint of pride, I understood why people would want to farm for a living. It’s special. That particular pride brought out by simply putting a seed into the ground and watching it grow to become food meant to feed an entire community is simply fantastic. It made me feel like I was making a real difference on our humble planet with one simple action.