Archive for the ‘Willowsford’ Category

I’m not 17 anymore…

“Lift with your legs!”

Those are the words I heard over and over again today from Farmer Katie. The concept was lost on me. I thought I WAS lifting with my legs. She then proceeded to demonstrate by doing some crazy ballet style squatting that looked very similar to a frog getting ready to leap. I laughed as I tried to imitate this awkward movement. I felt like my knees were going to give out on me. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the many years I spent wearing combat boots on a big steel ship while I was in the Navy. My knees aren’t what they use to be, neither is my back!

It’s amazing how something so simple as proper lifting can be a challenge to those of us who have apparently been doing it wrong our whole lives. However big the challenge though, this is a very serious subject. In 1995 a study done on “Injuries Among Farm Workers” in the United States by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that back injuries account for 14.4% of lost-time farm injuries. Back injuries are only preceded by the broad category of leg/knee/hip injuries, which holds the number one spot at 17.4%. Farm injuries can lead to a lifetime of problems as well as lost wages, not to mention a decline in the production of the farm. These injuries are not only seen amongst the older age brackets either. The same study shows that 36.5% of all injuries resulting in lost time come from farm workers 20-39 years of age.

In a nutshell, if you are working on a farm you need to take care of your body. Do some stretches before you head out to the field, learn how to lift properly, and pay attention to what is going on around you. Farming is a wonderful and fulfilling career, but it’s also one of the most dangerous.


Farm Job!

I was hired for my first ever farm job! I will be working as a farmhand at Willowsford Farm in Loudon County, VA. This farm is pretty special because it’s set amongst a growing suburban community. We have 30 acres to potentially grow on but this season we will be focused on 2 1/2 acres. We will be providing vegetables to 50 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members every week from June through November. I don’t know much about growing veggies as most of my prior experience is in raising farm animals. I will be working along side Farmer Mike, who manages the operation, his gorgeous, yet shy, farm dog Bella, and his assistant Katie. They both have many years of experience and I look forward to picking their brains.

When I first had my epiphany that I wanted to be a farmer I never really considered vegetables. I’ve never been known to have a green thumb. I’ve been known to kill house plants before they even have a chance to get settled in. But with some guidance and a little patience I’m sure that I can improve my growing skills. I look forward to some hard work and dirty hands.

I feel like I’m finally making the first step to becoming a farmer.