Monday, June 2, 2008

A place for children

While working on a farm project the other day, Eric commented, "Do you think we're too wrapped up in our career to have time for the kids?" Especially this time of year, when there is everything to do on the farm, it seems there's not even time to read a book to Nora and Paul. But in truth, the kids are never far from us, many times enjoying our "workplace." That day, in fact, Nora had led Paul into the strawberry patch and was picking "all the way red" berries for him to eat.
We've been amazed to see how much Nora, now three, is capable of and how much she really understands about the farm. She helps water the newly planted fruit trees, plant seeds, gather eggs, and she'll milk herself a cup of milk while we milk out the other quarters. She peeks in the incubator to see if the chicks have hatched. When it's time to squish potato bugs she knows which bugs are the good ones and which are the bad ones. And she knows we should share the harvest with the people at the market, because we're growing too much to eat ourselves.
We mention all this to say that we believe a farm that has a place for children is the kind of farm that benefits more than just children. When we advertise that we sell "good, honest, low-tech food," we're saying much the same thing. Children can help crush potato bugs with their fingers, but you wouldn't give children sophisticated insecticides to dust on the plants. Of course, there are plenty of tasks on any farm that aren't for children, but keeping a place for children on the farm -- like maintaining a connection between people and the source of their food -- is an important part of a healthy, balanced farm.

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