In Virginia there is a farm run by one woman. She started her small farm out of a desire to know where the chicken she ate came from and because she couldn’t find any quality chicken in her area. Hannah Owens, of Monrovia, CA, worked for this farm during Fall 2014 through the organization World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming (WWOOF). I recently spent some time with Hannah discussing farming across the United States, WWOOF, and how she feels connected to the land.
Hannah’s parents both have backgrounds in embracing the outdoors, her mother a gardener and her father an outdoorsman, they made sure to share that love with their children. Growing up Hannah and her brother were required to garden, through this she learned to have a personal appreciation for the land.
It took Hannah two and a half weeks to trek across the United States to her first farm in Northern New York to begin her first five weeks of farming. A family who ate off the land, homeschooled their kids, and ran a bed & breakfast, welcomed her. Hannah spoke fondly of the family, and of how much work they had to do.
Hannah remembers that working the land is very difficult and time consuming. It can also be stressful if the crop doesn’t do as well as hoped. Soil is an important component for crop grow, but so is weather, water, and equipment. There are so many things that a farmer has to consider about when growing a crop. Learning these hardships gave Hannah a new and deeper appreciation for the land.
In New York Hannah worked the land without music or conversation. The only sounds were of the surrounding nature, and this allowed her the space to think freely. It reminded her of the times she would spend on her family’s land in the Santa Monica Mountains or in Montana, and how she felt connected to the Earth, she calls them her “soul spaces.”
Hannah made her way south to Virginia to work on a small farm that raised poultry. Before arriving, she had to come to terms with killing the birds; if she was going to eat them, she should know how to kill them. Because the owner of the farm was trying to be as ethical as possible, Hannah learned that running an ethical farm is expensive, and that small farms that have a high ethical standard don’t always have the money necessary.
World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming allows people to work on an organic farm for room and board for a fixed amount of time. I was curious about this organization and am glad that I had the opportunity to learn more about it from someone who was a part of it. I love sharing with you different organizations that are helping the Earth and creating ethically sourced food.
- ⅔ C olive oil
- ⅓ C red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ C water
- 1 drop
- lemon oil (optional)
- 1 small shallot diced
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- ½ C cilantro or parsley (or ¼C each)
- Mix all ingredients in blender.
- mix oil, vinegar, water, lemon oil and salt in a mason jar or cruet.
- Finely chop cilantro/parsley. Dice shallot. Press garlic. Add to oil and vinegar mixture and shake to combine all ingredients.