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So What Have You Learned?

I’m pleased to share with you all, that year two was a success! I will be realistic about its challenges and no, I’m not a millionaire yet, but overall it was another wonderful year. I learned some tough lessons both personally and professionally over the past season, but my love for farming is still growing every day. Yes, it is hard work but hard work is welcome when you’ve been sitting around for two months. One reason I got into farming is because I get to rest all winter. Nothing beats being able to stay in your warm bed on a cold dark Monday morning in January. During my time off, I enjoyed spending time at home with my pup, seeing friends and family, and doing things for myself, not just the farm. It’s been a year since I moved into my bus, and it felt good to finally get some projects done inside. Now that I’m well rested (and getting a little antsy), it’s time to get to work. I’m excited for the new opportunities of this year and to implement all the lessons I learned from last season's adversities.

To nobody’s surprise, the weather was an issue for me. You’re probably thinking, “Duh Emily you’re farming in an unstable climate! Isn’t that part of why you’re farming in the first place?” And you’re not wrong. Silly me was just prepared for the wrong kinds of extreme weather. I lost a few crops early on because I was bracing for an intense onset of spring heat and was instead surprised with snowflakes and frozen seedlings. In the fall I was expecting to harvest a few crops that were instead trapped under a huge dump of early snow in November that uncharacteristically stuck around long into December. The heavy, sudden snow also did damage to my tunnel and greenhouse. The unusually damp weather created new pest problems for me as well. I didn’t realize that, while I didn’t have to protect my mustards from the heat, I should still have been protecting them against the hundreds of tiny flea beetles that made Swiss cheese holes in every leaf. At that moment I was very upset that I had no sellable arugula or mizuna, but I appreciated learning that lesson before investing more in my greens production. Losing a few beds last year means I can preventatively use row cover and save an entire plot this year. Going into 2023, I’m going to be prepared for as much as I possibly can.

Any renter knows, not owning your own property comes with challenges, and renting land to farm on is definitely no exception. My friends at Beryles Organic Paradise gave me the opportunity to start Easy Earth Farm and I will forever be grateful to them. Understandably, they have their own long term plans for the property and I was feeling like it was time for me to move. It was through a love for trivia nights and small-scale farming that I found Adrian and Marla. They are a young couple who bought a small farm just down the road, and share a passion for positive communities as well as regenerative agriculture. We hit it off instantly so I packed up my tiny house, and the farm, and got ready for the shortest yet most challenging move of my life. Not only does this mean more growing space and resources, but also more opportunities. Together we’re going to expand our vegetables production, clean up the property and implement permaculture practices around the farm. As far as renting a farm goes, this situation is a dream come true, at least to me. To hear Adrian and Marla’s side of the story, go check out their Sprout Valley Farm page on our website.

Overall, 2022 was a year for me to observe, experiment, and expand my agricultural and business knowledge. The most important lesson I learned was to forgive myself for making mistakes. As a perfectionist, this was a difficult lesson to learn. It was only my second year farming, so mistakes were inevitable and there was no point beating myself up over them. When your to-do lists start looking like a collection of short stories, you have to come to terms with things being simply done instead of perfect. I also learned to pat myself on the back and give myself credit for everything I have learned and accomplished in just two years! It’s easy to get overwhelmed when things aren’t going exactly to plan but in those moments I step back to observe the bigger picture. I have so much to be grateful for and it’s much easier to learn from your mistakes when you approach them from a place of appreciation. Whether it’s lessons of self compassion or pest management, the farm is always teaching me something new and I am so excited for what enlightening lessons come out of the 2023 season.

Thank you all for reading and sharing this farming journey with me. Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date all season long. @easyearthfarm

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Loved your update! You must see the Netflix movie The Biggest Little Farm. It's about the highs and lows of starting a mixed organic farm and it's delightful! Hope to buy some veggies from you this summer.

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