Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 9th annual Immigrant and Minority farming conference. I have been on the planning committee for the past 3 years. This just makes me appreciate the conference more. Some of you may not know but farming is hard work, and it can be very isolating. It can also be emotionally draining especially when you run a CSA and you have customers that are depending on you but there is nothing you can do about the weather, little you can do about water and pests, well they can be overwhelming. You know the product you want to give but sometimes it just doesn’t happen and all you can do is pick-up and try again next year.
For new farmers starting out there is even more strain, couple that with language and cultural barriers and it is a wonder anyone farms. So why do we? It’s because this is who we are, we have to be growing stuff, we love seeing the process even when it doesn’t work out exactly like you expected. One farming friend of ours who has been farming for 6 years says one thing she loves about the conference is “I don’t feel like a failure here.”
Yes going to this conference is a lot like coming home. I only see some of these farmers once a year but it is fun to catch up and share experiences. Yes it was a great rejuvenating weekend. I am sad to see it go.
Juan Garcia of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) addresses the group.
Farmers visit the exhibits.
Here’s to a great year for all of us.