"Farmers?! Um, you guys do NOT look like farmers!" This was exclaimed by my childhood next door neighbor upon seeing him out in Camarillo while I was with my group of sisterfriends. Indeed! What an unlikely cast of farmers we are here at the Abundant Table Farm Project! 5 young sisterfriend interns, 1 Farmer Paul, 1 extern Kyle, our radish radical Julie and South Central guru Sarah.
*The following is my opinion, based on my experiences and not any statistical data* In Ventura County, a very agricultural area, farming happens on a large scale. Farmers are farming on hundreds of acres. Farmers are renting out their land to big agro-business who then contract out farming responsibilities to other farmers who then contract farm labor work to farm workers through labor contractors. The Farmers are men, the farm workers are men and women, but mostly men. The farm workers do not look like Cristy Rose, Sarah, Katerina, Casey or me.
The farm lands are largely farmed mono-crop. Meaning lots of acreage is devoted to only one crop (around here it's lots of strawberries). This means pest control is a huge problem. Lots of one type of plant, lots of bugs that eat that one type of plant, nothing that comes to eat those bugs. Pesticides kill those bugs.
Growing up around here, that is my idea of farming. Apparently, an understanding quite similar to my neighbor Luke's, hence his surprise to hear of five young, lovely ladies farming.
This "understanding" of farming is what gets me out of control excited about what we are doing here at the Abundant Table Farm Project. This "understanding" of farming is what is getting the community out of control excited about what we are doing. This "understanding" of farming is what got the ATFP on the front page of the Sunday Ventura County Star. We are turning this "understanding" of farming on its head.
We are working together, our motley cast of farmers along with as much support and involvement from the community as we can cultivate and harvest, to organically farm 10 acres with as much bio-diversity as we can plant and grow. Farmers are driving by our 10 acres and are boggled by this project Farmer Paul has taken on. What a crazy looking field with all kinds of different things growing! We are working from within to plant, weed, and harvest. The farmer is working his land! With ladies! We are involving our community to come to the farm to learn, have fun, and know where their food is coming from.
People, this is exciting. Isn't it?
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