1.5 min readCategories: Closure, Farming, Green Alchemy
Farmer John
A homeschooling single dad living in an off-grid bus conversion named 'Totoro,' Spirit of the Forest. After nearly 20 years in the fields, John decided to go a *slightly* different route, to mix things up as it were. You can find us bordering public lands and wild places somewhere between West Michigan and Southern Arizona.
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The farm/farmer relationship is multi-faceted and inherently intimate.

Growing for a Living

The Emotionally Enmeshed Farmer

Sometime in the first five years of my farming career it started raining one spring day. The next day and the day after continued with rain. Inches and inches of rain poured down from the sky. This continued for long enough that ground preparation and planting was extremely delayed, threatening future markets and CSA boxes with lack during the critical first weeks of the marketing season. Leafy green veggies ceased to thrive on the heavy clay soils I worked at the time. Cabbages formed heads the size of baseballs as their ‘wet feet’ failed to breath adequately and fungal pathogens developed in the airless, waterlogged soil. Arugula and mizuna for salad mixes melted down under insect cloth, and I melted with them.

I was attached to my farm emotionally, mentally and financially. If the farm did well, I had all of the energy I needed each and every day, yet when the farm faltered due to excessive rain or a rained out farmers market I would fall into a pit of despair and become unreachable.

Farming, for me, had become an disordered attachment wrapped up in identity structures and a desire to achieve my way into worthiness within myself. I was my cabbages, arugula and task list. As a grower these incidents of loss are common and one is left with the choice to feel the feels about happenings beyond one’s control or to repress those feelings. For me, this comes down to some simple internal questioning; Does this make me feel frustrated or can I accept what has happened?

Making a Living?

In 2012 an exceptionally hot and rain less growing season was at it’s peak. We had

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  • The farm/farmer relationship is multi-faceted and inherently intimate. Growing for a Living The Emotionally Enmeshed Farmer Sometime in the first five years of my farming career it started raining one spring day. The next day and the day after continued with rain. Inches and inches of rain poured down from the sky. This continued for [...]

  • Obituary 11.15.22 Like much of the population, local farmers took a cold hard look at their operations last winter and decided to call it quits. They looked at the totality of their lifestyle and decided to choose themselves over the farms that they feign to run, and found a came to the same conclusion; [...]