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Confessions of a Wannabe Farm-Girl August 3, 2010

Posted by gfsa in Food Thoughts.
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I am a farm-girl wannabe!  I love the idea of growing my own vegetables, having a few chickens and maybe raising a couple pigs.  I imagine myself happily getting up at the crack of dawn to go out and gather eggs.  It’s a gorgeous morning, the birds are singing and kittens are playing at my feet.  I head back to the farmhouse to make my husband and two daughters a hearty breakfast before we start our day of chores.  Chores!?  Here’s where my dream falls apart.  What exactly does that entail?  How long does it take to do them?  Do we get breaks?  Do we still have time to do our “day jobs”, go to the gym?  Hmm….

The truth is, I am a city girl.  I was raised in “the world’s largest hamlet” Sherwood Park just east of Edmonton.  My family had a garden when I was really young and my mom blanched and froze veggies, canned fruit from BC, froze corn from Taber, made her own jam and bought our beef from the local butcher.  Then one day it all stopped.  My mom joined the work force and whole-heartedly embraced modern convenience.  We filled our garden with grass, our shelves with cans and boxes, and our freezer with store bought veggies, meat and quick, frozen meals.  Don’t get me wrong, we still had Sunday dinners and homemade meals, just not as often and not using ingredients we grew or processed ourselves.  Our neighbourhood Safeway became our sole provider and occasionally we enjoyed “treats” of fresh local veggies from the Farmer’s Market. 

Maybe it was these memories that planted the seeds for my desire to be a farm-girl?  As a grown up with a family of my own, I began tinkering in the garden, first with flowers, then with veggies.  To learn more about gardening and farming my family joined Tipi Creek Community Shared Agriculture (LINK to Tipi Creek website) farm near my home in St. Albert.  We learned the fine art of planting, weeding, and harvesting on a much larger scale than my miniscule backyard patch.  I have also learned a little about preserving the bounty of food we receive from the garden.  To this day, I am still a member of this CSA farm.  It’s been over 13 years!  I love the feeling of digging in the earth, the freshness of the veggies, and the community of people that has been nurtured over time.  People like myself who are seeking connection to the earth for themselves and their children, and are perhaps, like me, wannabe-farmers.

I recently read a book that really got my inner farm-girl going: “Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life” by Jenna Woginrich.  It describes the adventures of a young woman who moves from the city to a farmhouse in an effort to leave the consumer-driven culture behind.   She describes her efforts to embrace farm life including raising chickens, bees, growing veggies, etc…  Her city-girl turned farm-girl adventures made me laugh!  Check it out.  Maybe it will inspire the inner farm-girl or boy in you!

So do I have what it takes to be a farmer?  Could I actually do all the chores necessary to operate a farm?  Am I willing to give up my day job and city life to do so?  Is my family? I am not sure. But there is one thing I do know, my inner farm-girl has inspired a great curiosity in me and led me on a wonderful food journey.  In seeking answers to my many questions I have met new people, made new friends, acquired some new skills and gained some appreciation for the people who work so hard to grow and process our food.  Thanks to my inner farm-girl I now know how to plant, weed and harvest a garden and have added add veggies and fruit trees to my flower gardens.  And…even though I have been traveling this path for many years, I know I still have lots to learn.  I still have many, many, many questions.  Questions like…

  • How much food would you have to grow and preserve if you wanted enough to feed your family through the winter?
  • How do I encourage more bees to visit my garden? 
  • Could I raise honeybees in my yard?
  • How do I do a better job of keeping my root vegetables over the winter?  Would I have space for a root cellar?
  • Could we raise a few chickens in our backyard?  If I did, what would I do with all those eggs?

Yipee…more wannabe farm-girl adventures to come!

Submitted by: Angie Dedrick, GFSA Assistant Coordinator, St. Albert, Alberta

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Comments»

1. Maryann - August 4, 2010

Wow Angie, great post! You sound just like me… only we did become farmy lately and are doing the chores and daily grind of milking, feeding, fence moving, and animal watching. Our gardens are a little sad for lack of weeding though and I think I’ve missed some harvestable fruit….due to not watching the bushes and trees. Animals are much more insistent about needing care.

What I think I’ve learned is that you can’t do it all and still go to the City for “fun things”. I’ve learned this in my head, but I can’t seem to give any of it up yet and actually get really good at one thing. I’m hoping to entice more folk like you to come out here and help out and take home eggs, fruit, veggies etc. Coming out here, making your own food, is a “fun thing” to do!

So many good things to make and so little time!

gfsa - August 17, 2010

Thanks for your comments Maryann. Good for you for making the big step…I think you might just be my new hero! It must be so hard to make the switch from city life to farm life.

I know this is stating the obvious, but farming is a full time job. You can’t really take holidays… in the summer months anyway. This came clear to me, when we recently went away for a week’s holiday. It only took one week for worms to devour our little caulifower patch. It made me realize just how dedicated you have to be to farm, especially if you are selling your goods to others. I am so thankful for all the dedicated farmers like you!

2. Carolyn - September 13, 2010

Hi Angie

Excellent story about how your family influenced your love for home grown food. I know of people who do have bees in their city back yard and with success. I think you are doing a tremendous job in modelling farm to table with your family.

Carolyn

3. Wannabe Farm-Girl Tackles the Harvest « GFSA News - September 28, 2010

[…] by: Angie Dedrick, Wannabe Farm-girl and GFSA Assistant Coordinator, St. Albert, […]


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