there are many things i adore about operating a community supported farm. i appreciate the financial stability this model offers to our small family farm. i enjoy the diversity that this structure offers to our farming choices. i remain thankful for the chance to mentor apprentices who are intrigued by the day to day management of such a place. but definitely at the very top of the list is the people, the connections, the community. during our slow winter months, the community can feel small. we have no apprentices living on the farm, intermittent vegetable deliveries to private homes. farm guests are limited (although the truest joy on the farm might just be during the maple syrup season of late winter, just sayin’). in july, right now, at the peak of the season, our community swells. we have 4 on farm apprentices, weekly guests in the hollow, 75 CSA member families ,our regular market customers, the fellow vendors at the metro nashville farmers market, we are talking hundreds of people, hundreds of relationships, whew. i suppose it is a great thing i love people. for the past 12 weeks i have been pondering this idea, the busyness of my business i have mentally labelled it. in my mind i first composed this tale when at market a friend declared she was unexpectedly pregnant. we stole a few moments away from the market bustle to hug. i mentally jotted down another paragraph when i met not one but two newborn babies some saturdays ago on their first of many lifetime CSA pickups. once more i told the story to myself when the extended family came and went, and when i met and bid farewell to folks visiting our farm’s apprentices, and each week, when guest after guest comes to share our life for an hour, a day or a week. i thought, i have a lot of people in my life. today, somehow today, the story gets written because this week at market, the talk was heavy with cancer. a difficult pondering for me who will look back 20 years this month to my own mother’s passing from the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells that takes so many loved ones from us. cancer talk is hard on me and it is all around us, all of us. within hours this past saturday i shared a joyous return to market from friends 3 weeks out of a successful surgery with totally optimistic prognosis and other friends visiting us at market for likely the last time. in those teary moments i realized how much i hold in my heart these days. these long full summer days, my physical work is hard. countless hours spent in the fields and in the kitchen preserving the summer’s bounty. my social work is just as busy. i hold so many so close in these months, with thoughts for healing and recovery sharing space with hopes for the future of newborns and those first heading off to college. the life changes, the vacations, the births, the pregnancies, life and death swirl around me as i pick and can tomatoes and green beans. i am so glad this is part of my work, holding a whole community so dear. i hope that i not only nourish these people with our farm’s food, but also share with them weekly the appreciation i have for their commitment to our farm, our family and the model of agriculture that places a farm at the center of such a community. i am often asked how i do it all. my answer is i do it all with you all. no one can do it alone. i blanch and chill and bag and freeze pound after pound of edamame, i work to manage the bounty of the growing season and i think about my bounteous community. today, some are suffering, some rejoicing. it is all such a poignant and integral part of this rich life.