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11/19/2021 Farming for the Folks

Folks Farm started out with a mission; provide top quality organically grown food to the Fort Collins community. Since beginning this journey in 2019 we have attended over 100 markets, provided vegetables for over 80 families, distributed thousands of miles of produce from Fort Collins to Denver, and opened a roadside farm stand. I sit here today proud of this accomplishment. I sit here today a changed person.

Life deals lessons in cycles. Is it just me or does it usually take a few lessons for changes in habits to set? I realize now our original mission was just the beginning, the first leaves of a plant just sprouted. There is more involved than simply growing and selling food. It is time our mission grew and put out its true leaves.

If I reflect on when my heart has been full while farming it usually involves three elements. The warm feeling of satisfaction comes around the edges of the day. There is nothing better than watching a farm wake up with the sunrise or slip into night with the sunset. The waning golden hours of the day are my favorite time to be in the field. Tired, sore, a little dehydrated form a euphoric sense of accomplishment. Weary eyes witness the manifestation of effort glow into the night knowing it is time to celebrate or rest.

As the sunsets over vegetables the feeling intensifies if the crew is all part-taking in the dwindling hours of the day. Often with hoes in hands or propped on shoulders we look at the beds we’ve just cleaned or watch the sprinklers rain on ripening crops. These people make the difference between nature and agriculture. The best farming transmutes the powers of nature through the human and into the garden. Without people we would not have the crops we enjoy on our dinner plates. Without the crew, we would have nothing to market.

We turn away from the sunset and see the final piece, you. My heart sings when we have the public on our farm. You are usually eating something delicious, having a beverage, and laughing. You are the reason we farm. I would simply garden if I was not interested in providing a service to our customers. In these moments the work is truly a selfish act. I revel in the enjoyment of people and love to see enjoyment of the work. It has become novel in our times to know where and who grows your food. When I see the effect of our efforts my heart feels nourished and motivated to continue this journey.

Moments, days, nights like the one I have described have happened on our farm. I am realizing now the lessons I have been shown many times. We are not simply here to grow food. We are here to create a relationship between people and food. To provide a conduit between nature, humanity, and each other. Our task is creating a place where people feel welcome in the abundance of our region’s offerings. So it isn’t Folks Farm, it is Farming for the Folks.

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