A few months ago when Bethany asked me to be a contributing writer on her blog, my first thought was, "What could I possibly write about?" I was expecting my 6th child, and we were really busy on our farm. I agreed to write if I could wait until my baby was born. That also gave me a little time to think about what to share.
I sat down and made a list of some of the questions people have asked us over the years. The most common questions we get asked are about why we became farmers, and how someone else can get started.
I'm not surprised, since we used to ask the same questions to the farmers we used to buy from. We also read any farming book we could get our hands on. For us, we finally made the decision to move to the country and buy a cow when we were sick and tired of being sick. I began dreading going to the store when I thought about the frustration of reading labels and knowing I really didn't have much control over what my family ate. My husband and I used to take shifts staying up at night with one or more of our children when they were suffering with chronic croup. Something had to change!
We began our farming adventure in the city by ripping out our front lawn and planting a large garden.
We bought a few chickens and rabbits for meat and eggs, but it was no longer enough. I wanted to raise my own beef, milk my own cow, make my own cheese. We wanted to provide all these things to other families as well!
When people ask us how they can become farmers, the answer really depends.
We encourage people to read a lot. Especially all of Joel Salatin's books.
The first step, we believe, is to know why you want to farm. If it's just a hobby for you, then when you've had a really long, rough day, only to finally sit down at 10:00pm, and then realize your pigs got out, you have to have something to remind yourself it really is worth getting up and herding them back to their pasture. For us its our health, and the health of our customers. Almost every single one of our customers has told us that our food has helped cure an ailment that they or their children have been suffering from. What could be better than that?
So you want to be a farmer?
Maybe you don't want to move to the country and milk cows. Maybe you just want to grow your own tomatoes? Maybe you want to raise chickens so you can have fresh eggs? A lot of people are keeping honey bees in the city.
You can too!
Find something that excites you and try it! So what if you don't know how. Check out a book from the library and ask a friend to try with you! What if you fail? So what? Try again, or find something else to try. One of the best feelings in the world is the satisfaction of knowing that you can do something new to provide for your family. Try it and see!
A while back when we were more than usually busy and my house was more than usually messy, I asked myself why am doing this, and I decided to write down a list of all the new things I've tried and accomplished since becoming a farmer over three years ago.
It was very encouraging to know that even though I don't seem to ever have sparkling bathrooms, I have learned to make kombucha, several kinds of cheese, butter, yogurt and much more. I've learned how to milk cows, detect a heat cycle in cows, raise sheep, pigs, turkeys and a little about honey bees.
I've learned what kinds of fencing will keep a pig in, when to plant clover in your pastures, what kind of potatoes grow well here, marketing, how to nurse a baby in a sling while stirring dinner with one hand and answering emails on my phone with the other.
I've discovered it truly is better to give than receive. We've become surrounded with some of the most wonderful people we could have ever dreamed of meeting. The best part is we get to spend our days as a family, taking care of animals that will help heal the people in our lives! I can't imagine anything better than that!
I believe one day I'll look back and not care that my house was never spotless, and I'll be happy that I've learned so much about providing for my family! I encourage each one of you to start with something and see how much you can learn!
Genevieve Cruzwww.pokrovfarm.comGenevieve and her family moved to a 35 acre farm in Sandy, Oregon to improve their health and begin providing others with good food, too. They specialize in grass fed/finished beef and raw milk. She is a stay at home mom who began researching health and nutrition about eight years ago which led them to become farmers in 2008 and begin selling raw milk in March of 2009. She's learned many things while living on a farm and hopes to continue learning more. She loves having people over to visit and cook for them!