Melanie Fryer, a Yorkshire based organic grower, answers the question: ‘Why consider a career in organic farming?
First and foremost farming is great for the sheer enjoyment of being outside in the fresh air come rain or shine; for the regular exercise and the connection with the land, the plants and trees and the animals.
You are your own boss and time is your own to a great extent. (No going for the bus, sitting in traffic or attending boring meetings).
Yes, there is always plenty to do, but you don’t have to clock in and out when you are working with nature.
When working with the seasons, you learn to love each and every one for their special qualities. Spring is bursting with energy and life after the long winter and lambing time is unique. Summer sees long days spent outside. Autumn is a satisfying month where you gather in the harvest and stock up the shelves with bottled fruit/preserves/jam/stored crops etc. Winter brings warm fires, cosy nights, dark skies, and keeping ourselves and everything else well.
Personally I love early mornings; walking out onto the farm and looking forward to the day. There is no way of telling what will happen – such is the variety of the work- and the unexpected always occurs. No two days are the same. With this variety you develop a real good set of skills.
Farmers are custodians of the land and people rely on us for healthy, local food. Eating and cooking and sharing our food gives a real sense of satisfaction. Selling direct is great because you build trust and have a rapport with your customers. You also have the options to either work alone or with other people.
At busy periods when it’s all hands on deck (such as hay-time or the harvest), there is a great sense of camaraderie, and lots of food and drink is shared and the work gets done.
Any holistic farm is full of wildlife and they are absolutely fascinating to observe. From the bees to the birds, they have it all worked out and just need the right space to thrive.
I’ve also found it important and very worthwhile to integrate educational groups, particularly school children, into my work. They come out to the farm, run around in the fresh air, collect eggs and learn about food. Children need to make this connection at a young age and farmers have a role in supporting this.
Industrial farming is unsustainable. We need hundreds more farmers and market gardeners to supply good quality food to all, so pull on your wellies and get out there, it’s fantastic!
Join LESS’s 6 month FarmStart Growers’ Support Course and explore the option of becoming an organic grower. More info at: www/lessuk.org/FarmStart