Farming is hard work and even with technology and machinery, there is no getting around it. Early hours, long hours and work conditions that include everything from rain, cold to sweltering heat. But, there are many reasons to bring joy to this work and we had a "JOY" experience yesterday.
Partners were building raised beds to prepare for summer planting; while others were prepping produce for a local pop up farmers market. "JOY" arrived in the person of Ida Mae Oliver. Ida Mae walked onto the farm and said she had been trying to locate us to buy some fresh produce. She was a mature Black woman, dressed in a long skirt, cotton top & sporting a wide-brimmed straw hat worn with swag. Ida Mae told us she wanted to buy some produce but mostly wanted to know when and how she could volunteer to help us.
All but one of our farmers are senior citizens ranging in age from 62-78. I guessed Ida Mae was probably in the high end of that range. She explained that she was born in Texas, but came to Stockton at 3 months old. Why did she want to join us? In her words, "So I can stop killing things" (namely plants/vegetables.)
We arranged for Ida Mae to meet us at the farm on Friday morning, 9 a.m. to tour the farm and assist with harvesting and getting ready for our Saturday Farmers Market. Ida Mae was excited and we got excited that we could share our knowledge and the "JOY" of farming with her. Looking forward to connecting with her on Friday and sharing her experience with BUFA. Pictures to follow in next post.
Ida Mae told us she absolutely loved collard greens so she left with a bag full of 4 large bunches of collards and a 4-5 pound green cabbage. She was on her way home to prepare the greens and spread some joy to her loved loves.