My two months in Brooklyn flew by, and I have to admit, I was sad to leave. I learned so so much; but this time more about community and working in a movement than the technicalities of farming. My post on Grist pretty much sums up the highlights from my time in NYC. But there’s no way to capture everything I learned and experienced and all of the wonderful, inspiring people I met.
Over the month of November I will be on the road more than since my journey began—trying to fit in as many farms as I can before the growing season in this region comes to an end and before I have to be at my brother’s for Thanksgiving. The rest of my journey looks something like this:
NYC —> D.C. (to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity at the Capitol)
Detroit –> back to Brooklyn (for the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference!)
Brooklyn –> back to D.C. (to finally remove my things from my friends’ basement and cart them away)
D.C. –> North Carolina (to visit some more black farmers)
North Carolina –> my brother’s in Florida ( to eat TURKEY!)
Just typing all that wore me out. Lots of people ask me how I do it. Sometimes I wonder that myself. Mainly, I think it just takes a little creativity and resourcefulness to make survival on the road possible. And being a lover of travel, I think I’ve just learned to adapt to whatever new situation I find myself in.
Here are some answers to questions I keep getting about my trip…thought it might be fun to share with everyone:
No, I am not getting paid. Not monetarily anyway! 🙂 I am farming and helping these organizations in exchange for training, knowledge and experience. I’m an intern/apprentice/volunteer. I help them; they help me.
Yes, I am eating. I work at farms…where we grow food. It’s a given that I’m not starving. I’m a vegetarian (of sorts) and so I have plenty of veggies to choose from. One thing I love about farming is that, even today, there is still a lot of reliance on the barter system. So, in exchange for helping them for free, I get free food to take home. I afforded other supplements from the grocery store thanks to my one-day-a-week gig at a juice café when I was in Brooklyn, where I got paid to make fresh fruit and veggie juices for people and drink them too.
No, I am not sleeping on the streets. I did have a paying job when I lived in DC and I worked hard to save money to make this transition possible. So when I was in Brooklyn I was able to rent a cheap room for one month and lucky enough to crash with a generous friend in his studio for the other month. (I also met a super nice couple that let me house/cat sit for them for a weekend!) Outside of Brooklyn I have relied on WWOOF and CouchSurfing, both great networks that host you around the world.
No, I don’t have a car. Two words: Public Transportation!! In NYC, you can get around on all systems in all five boroughs, day and night for just $80 per month. It was a worthy investment for me, especially when single rides are $2.25 a pop. I also WALK! Which helps me explore the city. Between cities I’ve been relying on trains and buses ‘cause they’re cheaper, more environmentally friendly and I like the journey.
Yes, you can do it too! Just do it; quit your job, get rid of your possessions and go out and SEARCH for what makes you happy! All it takes is a little determination and research. As for how to find out about opportunities, Google works wonders and so does the trusty old phone. I just search for what I want/need and cold call or email organizations and ask if I can come work/volunteer/attend. Easy Peasy. Also I read relevant blogs, articles, news and talk to people involved in the movement – word of mouth is priceless and you’ll be surprised at how you will meet people along the way that help guide you on your path.
Alright, that’s all the Zen advice I have for today -brought to you from Amtrak. 🙂