the farmer mentor

our first apprentice of the 2013 season arrived this week. welcoming shannon for her stay at the farm represents the final phase of our family’s shift from winter to spring.  if someone arrives to learn farming with us, it must be time to start farming! i feel like our life is an immersion into so many lost arts: those that have all but disappeared in our fast paced, technologically sophisticated, centralized,commercialized world. mentoring young farmers is something we have been doing here for 12 years. paul and i met each other as apprentices at angelic organics and have held dear the role of mentor, the joy of learning while doing, and the significance of this relationship from the very beginning of our journey.

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in eras past you learned your trade alongside someone who had already mastered it. the phases were clear: apprentice, journeyman, tradesman. without delving too deeply into the topic of our current educational system, it is clear to me that the decline of available alternatives to classroom learning is a detriment to our overall societal well being.

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farming is best understood by farming. we represent a new generation of farmers. raised urban, we have chosen this lifestyle and learn more each day we live it. there are more like us, urban dwellers longing for the rural life. to truly know whether this longing can be satisfied by embracing the farm life, an on farm apprenticeship is critical, valuable, truly perfect. each year we offer ourselves as mentors to a handful of folks, often young, but not always. they want to try it out. they want to see if this pastoral dream can translate into a realistic livelihood for themselves. they recognize the value of immersing oneself and discovering the unknown. they want to farm. we integrate these people into our family, our life, and our daily doings. we hope we can share with them the joys, the sorrows and the truth of the small scale sustainable agriculture that we practice.

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the mentor/apprentice relationship is, as with all human relations, not always easy. the rewards however are so great. we are able to teach and learn, give and receive,  this immersion is thorough, we share all we have with each other.

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with that we send a wave of gratitude to all who have shared life in the hollow with us in years past, we welcome shannon, we greet spring, and we charge full speed ahead into the growing season.

4 thoughts on “the farmer mentor

  1. I very vividly remember arriving at h+h– it was lovely and overwhelming. best of luck to you and your apprentice, and much love!

  2. How awesome! Apprenticeships are such a wonderful thing, and we hope to be able to offer the same service to folks soon. I guess our first will be my nephew who plans to move down soon and though he will be more of a permanent family addition (we hope) that will give us an idea of how soon we can begin to offer ourselves to others.

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