There was a time, not even all that long ago, when dirty or rough hands represented a poorer lifestyle. Personally, I am so proud of every one of the little callouses that formed on my hands last summer. They narrate one of the best years of my life, becoming a testament of a transformation within me. As a grower, my hands are my most important tools. They plant the seeds that will sprout into lush crops and it is again my hands that pick the harvest that follows. I’ll never be the kind of girl with perfectly manicured nails and honestly, I am totally ok with that. It’s far more likely that I will never be truly rid of the dirt underneath my nails and my arms will forever have scratches on them from battling squash plants. In my mind, it all adds to my story and I like knowing that people can see that I work hard. Last summer I was fortunate enough to have a friend take a picture of my hands in their truest and most authentic form: covered in dirt. When looking over the pictures, my sister commented on how much my hands look like our Grandma’s. Its a funny thing to feel so connected to, but I took it as an incredible complement because to me Grandma’s hands represent the ability to grow anything, plants and love included. I hope that mine represent me in such a way, showcasing dedication and a deep connection to the land.
Dirt changes you. It grounds you and gives you a sturdy place to stand on, metaphorically or literally, and with that you are given a whole new appreciation for nature. I marvel at all of the tiny ecosystems within a few handfuls of good soil. It’s amazing that some of the smallest bugs on earth are what gives our planet life and the ability to sustain us. A large portion of the vital nutrients that our bodies need are all because of a few inches of soil. There are even studies that show that working the earth with your hands can have a meditative effect on people and can help calm anxiety. I have personally experienced the feeling of tranquility and contentment that often follows an afternoon spent alone amongst the greenery and fertile loam. Standing barefoot with my toes in the black dirt, I have found purpose within my garden.
I’ve often been asked about my goals with branching into farming. I’ve even seen people confused by my fairly modest business plan. I have lots of hopes and dreams, but unlike others, my end goal is not to make money. I hope to one day have a cut flower garden that can supply weekly bouquets, and I also aspire to write a cookbook comprised of family recipes. I want to give our farm it's sixth generation someday. These are the goals that drive my passion; they give life to Fifth Gen, which was something that was also just a dream not that long ago.
If the lines on my hands are more enhanced by the dirt on them, I'll consider myself unbelievably blessed. Not all riches are ones that you can see tallied up in your bank account; lots of times less material things could be considered being worth exponentially more. I do not want to be known for being financially rich someday. I want to be known for the greatness that I gave in life, and for being rich in the people that I choose to surround myself with.