Why I’m returning
by Lorig Hawkins, Tecolote Farm Manager-in-Training
On the last day of 2011, I proudly put my first full farm journal on my bookshelves. I was so giddy and proud at the fact that I have been farming, or rather, learning how to farm, for a year! You see, from the moment I knew this work was for me I have documented every moment I have spent farming. For all you super geeks out there you will be happy to note I have gone one step further and after re-reading my notes I have indexed everything into topics that I can then reference in a larger notebook. Whether it was at Urban Roots, Tecolote Farm, or any other farm I’ve visited, I’ve made a point to write down everything I could remember from that day, as small as it seemed. Because believe me, if you listen closely, are aware, and work really hard to see the bigger picture and make connections, you learn something extremely valuable every time you step foot in the fields. And I couldn’t be more fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from David and Katie at Tecolote. He may say it flippantly or in passing but David will make comments that will guide you forever as a farmer; you just have to be listening. And guys, I’m listening and writing it all down!
And as I shelve that first year notebook I eagerly pick up the next one, labeled 2012. This year I will continue at Tecolote for their regular spring/summer CSA season. I am returning for more, hungry to learn, hungry to work and sweat and ache, and hungry to continue meeting people who care about their food, and their farmers, and care about making it all accessible. I am so excited about days of tying square knots on every single tomato plant down multiple rows in the dead of afternoon. I can’t wait to pick up ungodly heavy black crates full of sweet melons, only to have to carry them in sand, where with each step you will yourself to hold on for just a bit longer. I look forward to grubbing for potatoes and the way it burns your knees because the sand is so hot and you have to kneel. I look forward to cracked and cut hands and bruised elbows and knees because it’s all part of the job. I am eager to take on more responsibility and learn as a manager how to lead and keep people excited about farming, how to encourage our team to work hard because it’s us versus the big guns and we need all the committed help we can get. I look forward to my team helping me grow as a person and challenge me to be better every moment of every day that I step out to lead and work. I am so thankful to get another chance to grow food for wonderful people and feel proud of our work. And I can’t wait to learn more, and continue to learn everyday for the rest of my life, for I will be farming for the rest of my days. So here’s to another year of farming, and another notebook for my shelf.