Note: This guest blog written by Keri Nelson was originally posted on the Moms For Real Food Initiative Website.
I am what you call a ‘Millennial City Girl’.
I am, however, an ‘Old Millennial’ at almost 32 years of age. I do relate to most Gen-Xrs better than most of my ‘Generation’. I also do come from a long line of ‘Educated City-Folk’. So by all rights of classification I am a ‘Millennial City Girl’. Seriously, though, most Millennials scare me.
I am on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter (though Twitter isn’t really my hotspot). Social media is a part of my existence. I can learn most anything I want on YouTube (like tiling a bathroom) or Google (How to de-skunk my dog). I do still enjoy the smell of new books and reread old favourites until the bindings fall apart. I am ‘plugged in’. I am hardly reachable on my house phone (we only have it in case a babysitter doesn’t have a cell). Call, text or instant message me, I have my cell phone basically everywhere I go. Never call me at home. I love alternative rock, classic rock, 90s punk and grunge, and even the occasional pop song.
I live in a 1960’s bungalow in town with my ‘picture family’ of a husband, two kids and a dog, though I don’t have a picket fence, yet. I even drive a mini-van. I love my Chucks, Birkenstocks and Lulu Yoga pants. I am first and foremost a ‘City Slicker’.
|Our Christmas picture even included us in all our Chucks!|
Being a City Kid I grew up playing with other kids in the street with older brothers tormenting us. Walking to school. Coming home at lunch to an actual home cooked lunch. Walking or taking transit to the movies. You know, ‘Normal Stuff’.
Well in the weird way the world works I met, fell in love with, and married a ‘Farm Boy’. We packed up moved to the country. We left a City where at night there’s lights, to a land of eternal darkness.
It was unsettling. We moved a whole bunch of times and wound up finding a place in town, (‘town’ with a population of 5,000 within a heavy farming community) not far from the ‘family farm’.
I love the idea of raising my kids in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Kids are free to play and make life long friends in preschool!
Ah! The life!
One thing lead to another and I met other transplanted ‘City Kids’ who were all out looking for a quiet life rather than the hustle and bustle of the City.
|Yes I dressed her up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween|
Before I could even blink we found a chicken on the side of the road.
Tracy and I found a chicken.
On. The. Side. Of. The. Road.
Seriously how does that even happen? And in town no less. Well we set up a dog kennel in the garage and named her Henrietta. She gave us eggs for a few months then she became a free loading chicken.
Little did we know that she would throw me, head long, into ideas about farming. See, the thing with ‘ideas’ and us Millennial City Kids is they can turn quite quickly from ideas, to extensive Google searches, to conferences, to courses, to books to making a plan ….. in less than 6 months. We work fast, I know! Well it’s been on my mind for about 7 years but now it’s getting real. I have the drive I want to do this.
I have been to ‘Ranching Opportunities’ Conferences, Grazing conferences, Ladies Livestock Lessons and other seminars. What can I say I enjoy learning. It’s usually full of stuffy old, cranky old farmers sitting there saying:
- ‘That will NEVER work’
- ‘Ha! They are going to teach ME how to move my cattle?’
- ‘full of stupid ideas and a DEGREE, they don’t know anything’
- ”I KNOW everything they were trying to teach.’
Seriously EVERY conference, seminar, talk there is some old guy saying that. With only two exceptions. The first, my Husband and I took a Holistic Management Course. I was met by a whole variety of people that I was so incredibly inspired by, and whom I now cherish dearly for all they have taught me. Honestly, it was starting out CSA farmers, sheep farmers, small mixed livestock farmers, cattle farmers and even another crazy kid who was also jumping into the poultry game this year.
With all different backgrounds, ages, walks of life we all had one thing in common. We could think outside of the box! Holy Crap! I have found inspirational, motivated, learning oriented, compassionate, hard working, loving, all around absolutely AMAZING people! I have found my farming tribe! And I love them all! The Alberta Organic Conference this year was full of colourful hair, tattoos, piercings and hipsters. I have found more of my farming people!
Well with a few courses and conferences under my belt I was ready. I had a plan. I ordered 200 chicks, 30lbs of vegetable seeds and 80 turkeys.
This was happening. I was so excited. I had poured hours, days, weeks even months into this plan.
|The current Market Garden plot|
Sadly, from which we received much back talk from the older farmers I know, through town and otherwise.
The Baby-Boomers have “their ways”, and like to talk about how us “Younger Generations” don’t want to learn how to farm, that we don’t have the drive, work ethic or back bone.
I call b_ _ _ _ _ _ t!
The older generations of farmers. They have met me with ‘You can’t’, ‘It will never work’, ‘How many books did you read to figure that out?’, ‘Your books and courses will teach you nothing’, ‘You’ll never make anything doing that’ and a whole massive list of other lovely other opinions.
Yes, you farm.
Yes, I am eternally grateful for your decades of tireless efforts. But who will take over your farm? No one. Unless you let us City-Folk do what we so desperately want to do!
WE WANT TO FARM.
We need to somehow toss aside the egos, defensiveness, arguing, “pishawing” and verbal stone-walling and allow us to work the land, raise the livestock, and yes, even fall on our faces! But we DESIRE to learn and do.
Let’s work together instead of against each other. Please, teach me how to drive and fix the tractor, and I will tell you how I learned holistic farming and how it can save you money! Tell me stories about your parents and grandparents farming, and I’ll tell you how my unquenchable desire led me to farming.
Make practical suggestions, and help me, and yes even allow me to fall on my face.
WE WANT TO FARM.
So, please, let us.