Michael Fields Agricultural Institute logo
At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

We’re in this together!

We’re in this together! This is a phrase I find myself saying more and more these days. In the spring things are busy with planting and transplanting and now it’s harvesting and weeding. There doesn’t seem to really be a down time but that’s not always a bad thing. As we all get to know each other better we’ve begun to really gel as a group. Some people like certain activities better than others and everyone is starting to find their niche. While some independence and autonomy is encouraged we can’t lose sight of the big picture; we are in this together. It takes all of us to make this farm function. It takes those who like to do the accounting each week and make the deposits. It takes those who enjoy cleaning up and making sure old veggies get composted and new ones are rotated into the cooler and storage areas. It also takes a few who like to weed and harvest and pick tomato horn worms!

The same is true for our customers and supporters. It wouldn’t matter how much or how wonderful the food was that we grow here if we didn’t have them to buy it. The effect ripples out to the local area. The hard work of local food advocates and farmers who have been here longer than we have educating the public on the benefits of local and organic food makes our job easier. Because of them people already know about kale and mustard greens. And because of our work new farmers will be able to sell kohlrabi and fennel to even more people.

I frequently hear people comment about “self-made” success stories. While it’s true that success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication, plus a lot of passion, no one is an island. We need our customers, other farmers and each other to be the best we can be. When one of us succeeds the movement takes another step forward. The team and I just visited Organic Valley Headquarters in La Farge, WI and were reminded of this again. There are so many pieces to the big puzzle of life that when they all fit together it’s amazing what a group can accomplish!

I tell my students regularly to be thankful and grateful of what others have accomplished because it’s making their lives better if they realize it or not. Other farmers at the markets aren’t our competition they are our partners. Those interested in the local food movement know the value of good, quality produce and the importance of taking care of the land. We may be a small group but we are growing in numbers with every day and month! That’s exciting! That’s inspiring to the younger generations. The evidence is in the numbers returning to rural (and urban) areas to farm. We need to stick together to continue to make real change in our communities, states and country. We can do it but it’s going to take us all. Don’t worry or get overwhelmed; we’re in this together!