I think I'm going to quit my job...
Tyson and I met while attending Utah State University in Logan, UT. It was a great beginning to our story and ended with me leading him off to Washington, D.C. while I attended graduate school. Despite all the fun we were having Tyson was far from being professionally fulfilled. He was becoming more and more engrossed in his urban bee keeping and our community garden plot. I’d wake up early Saturday morning to find him watching YouTube videos of farming. Finally one day he came to me saying he needed a career change, which I was expecting and waiting for, however, I was somewhat blindsided when he told me he wanted to be a farmer.
How does one go about becoming a farmer? How does one convince their wife to go along with it? We don’t have the answer to either of these questions, but I’ll let you know what we’ve done about the first question.
Our first step was finding out if this was just a passing fancy or if he was in for the long haul. Tyson quit his job and headed out to an internship at Bois d’Arc Farm in Marion, Alabama. He lived there in a trailer while I flew out to visit every other weekend. He learned how to put up a green house, wade through the mud, how delicious sweet potatoes can be, and that he was happy doing all the work, amongst other things. Alabama and BDA Farm our special memories for us.
We spent a lot more time thinking about the next step, but if you believe in fate, it had already been decided for us. Our family is in Utah and we want to be around to help our parents grow old gracefully. I was adamant that DC was the only place I’d be able to fulfill my professional ambitions… but a “let me show you” job search quickly turned to a “I was wrong…” then into a job offer. But where to farm?! That had already been decided many many years ago by my great-grandfather. Claude Stuart was a post-office clerk who bought several acres of “less desirable” land between the railroad tracks in Uintah, UT. My dad grew up on that land and (what I thought was irrational nostalgia) had purchased the home. We were able to connect a few acres by renting from my dad and borrowing some garden space from his cousins.
The next steps have mainly consisted of a lot of work. Establishing infrastructure, fortifying soil, crop planning, and then getting to market! I’ll talk about how he’s managed each of those in future posts.
A shout out to Conor Crickmore @ Neversink Farm, JM Fortier @ Les Jardins de la Grelinette and all the other many YouTubers and bloggers that have shared their experiences to help new farmers like Tyson!