I have been wrestling about what to say when people ask me “Why move to a farm?” I know why in my heart but it is hard to put into ten words or less for a new neighbor or community member to satiate their curiosity or have them understand and accept me.
My reasons are very simply complex! I bought a farm because I could. I feel comfortable saying this here but, like some, I do not want to share too much in public. Where is that line?
My reasons: health, happiness, home for my family and my descendants. It’s all about Permaculture’s basic tenets: care for the earth, care for the people, give back to the community. In the USA it is referred to as regenerative farming I believe. When I try to explain, my answer depends on my audience.
When a new neighbor asks “Why are you moving out here from the big city?” (Is that his way of saying, “You’re a city slicker and you don’t know what you are getting into?”) Maybe it’s true but I see him noticeably lean in with acceptance when I tell him I was born on a dairy farm in Southern Illinois and my brothers were born in this very county. I didn’t mention I haven’t been on a dairy farm in 70 years. I wonder if he lives by his mono-cropping corn and soy beans and synthetic fertilizers. Will we have anything in common? Will his pesticides drift onto my natural crops and make ill will for everyone concerned?
When a family member asks: “Why would you move two hours away?” Again, simply complex! I live within about 15 minutes from each of my four daughters’ families. We depend on each other for all sorts of things from loans, babysitting, to stranded cars, play and moral support. Change can be difficult for different reasons. At this point I also became painfully aware that because of my age maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly. And caring family that they are, “How would they tend to me, being so far away and being older.” Sadly I guess these are valid concerns. My retort, “So what! I have had a good life. Maybe I will die of a stroke on the way to the barn.” Beyond the sassy reply I am thinking to myself, “I am needed less and less here and I don’t have time to waste sitting in this recliner getting fatter.” They are all dealing with the change in as many different ways as they have personalities. The range goes all the way from joining me on the farm to a very strong “just ignore her and she will change her mind.”
My husband of 50 years is of the “wait and see” persuasion I believe. We discussed the possibilities in depth as we have always tried to come to a consensus on important things. He has had to deal with being chronically ill his whole life but he, as always, is brave and up for an adventure. His declaration was basically “Go ahead, I’ll watch!”