a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Hip, Urban, Farmer, Activist, Artist? – all of the above

by Tao, Carrboro, NC

I recently took on some farm “work”. Sort of by accident, I was “hired” to help care for some rescued farm animals who live at a beautiful farm near my house. I was on a morning walk with my dogs and we just started talking…they needed a replacement morning caretaker, so well, I put on the muckruckers and dug in a few mornings last week.

It didn’t take long to understand the allure of all of it – the morning air, the smell of hay and sawdust and, of course, the animals. With my Border Collie by my side, I muck a few stalls, wash some feed buckets, fill water, pat some rumps and generally get and give a lot of love, nature-style. At only about 90 minutes of work, it’s just a glimpse of what really happens in terms of the tough stuff, but I really “got it”. There’s some animal/nature medicine at work when you’re willing to get your hands dirty. I have a feeling I’m gaining a lot more than extra muscle and a little cash.

As I was musing over this new experience, I came across an inspiring article which profiles “40 Farmers Under 40” in the United States. I especially learned a lot from this blog by Zoe Bradbury, “Diary of a Young Farmer”, who lives and farms in Portland.

A whole new breed of farmers are arriving on the sustainable, local scene and no stereotypes apply. According to this article at, they are young, diverse, urban and adventurous – many holding advanced degrees in areas such as ecological anthropology and who “sometimes [also] work as educators, eco-entrepreneurs, yogis, journalists, filmmakers, activists.” To call them Idealists would be an understatement unless it includes motivated, determined, passionate and from the sounds of the profiles I read here, earnestly happy.

They appear to live big full lives filled with purpose and meaning…it makes you wonder just what the rest of us are chasing, doesn’t it?

One Response to “Hip, Urban, Farmer, Activist, Artist? – all of the above”

  1. Jolly ROger Says:

    Was wondering how that would go. Yes, if we take opportunities of experience nature/spirit of the animal and plant co-earthlings. As I stated yesterday, we have a special, almost symbiotic relationship with dogs and horses, They “get” us. The fact that HORSE and DOG have almost universally not been food sources, re-inforces their special place in culture. Even the most die-hard carnivore, will gag at the thought of eating them. The only negative about horses, is the idea that they have to be “broken,” to ride, and perform. Trained, yes, is a better word.
    We just need to extend that status to a greater and greater circle of fellow beings. We just need to honor their spirits, even the ones that generate innate fears in our psyches; Coyote? Snakes? Who generates that “fear and loathing” in you?
    I took an on-line test about power animals, and mine turned out to be “spider.” Not the most cuddly/cute animal, but no less amazing in their beauty, spinning webs, stealth and feeding skills, etc. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’ll run out and buy a tarantula for a “pet.”

    Thanks, Jolly Roger

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