Who knew in the process of learning how to grow healthy food, I would end up growing myself…immensely.
My journey this summer and autumn grew organically into an experience far beyond what I could have hoped for.
What started as a trip to finally get my hands in the dirt, grew into an opportunity to question the deeply woven injustices in our country’s systems, a chance to dive into the work of community empowerment, and now, it’s shaping some exciting work that lies ahead.
It has also been a ridiculous adventure – right down to the creepy Midwestern train rides, hitchhiking in cowboy boots and even a jaded love story.
With a total of 16 hours on buses, 39 hours on trains, 7 hours waiting/sleeping in train stations, and a 13-hour road trip taken straight through (not to mention the countless bus and train rides back and forth all five NYC boroughs hopping from urban farm to farm) – the journey wore me out more than the actual farm work did.
Actually I think travel is very similar to farming. It seems like a romantic idea, and it definitely is, but it also comes with a side that is not for the faint of heart.
In farming there’s dirt, horse shit, sweat and endless manual labor. In traveling there’s hauling luggage, getting lost, living out of your backpack for months, sleeping on couches/air mattresses/or any surface you can find while staying in strangers’ houses.
On this trip with all those things combined, I was exhausted and dirty the majority of the time. (I even unintentionally grew dreads in my hair and ditched my vegetarianism for the sake of my health – non-animal protein intake was hard to keep up on the road!)
But I absolutely love it; because for me, wandering the Earth and working the earth make me feel at home; even if they’re both looked at as a little outside the norm.
Nonetheless, this journey has helped me explore cities where I may want to finally dig my roots in one day, and it’s ignited a fire in me to be a part of creating a just and healthy food system, but one that is actually led by the communities it is designed to serve.
Keep an eye out for more blog posts as I explore the Haitian and Latino-led urban farm scene in my hometown of South Florida during my stay here through the winter, and stay tuned for the exciting projects I’m working on including helping to build a National Black Farmer’s Directory and filming a documentary on farmers of color!