This piece is in honor of the “Women and Food” edition of Edible Santa Fe that is on stands now (check the Facebook page for locations). Each woman who works in the local food system got her start somewhere simple. In a garden, at the table, at a market, or in a pasture. What if we captured these moments? What might they look like….
Last week my daughter and I were planting peas on a frost tinged morning. It is early in the spring to be planting, I know. A freeze is a very real possibility until mid May. Every night when I go to bed the thought of freeze nips at my heals. But by noon the next day it is 65 degrees. I’ll take the chance.
As soon as I rip open the Bountiful Gardens seed packs of cascadia and dwarf sugar peas my little one gravitates into my orbit. “I want to plant, I want to plant” she shouts over my shoulder. We start by furrowing a 2 inch deep trench into the damp soil. Then we furrow another one. The rows hug each side of a support system that I’ll place later to hold the reaching vines. I show her how to lay the seeds in the trench. Shiny pearls one inch apart in their in their onyx setting. She teeters on the edge of our kneeling cushion and cantilevers forward. “Plip, Plop” –each one into their setting. Laid end-to-end like flattened tiaras.
Delighted with the effect, and reaching the end of her attention span, she gets up and starts singing a best- hits medley of the preschool set. As I finish the row she melts into the background and I melt back into my task.
I finish the rows, burying the treasures in an inch of soil scraped from surrounding topsoil. I sit for a minute and debate what do next in the garden. As if tuning the radio my ears begin to pick up the lyrics of the song she is singing as she swings wildly around the hoop house frame:
“And on her farm she had a chicken …”
“And on her farm she had a cow…”
“And on her farm she has some corn…”
I sit back on my haunches. Her farm, not his farm. Not a nameless who-knows-who farm. By her she could mean me. She could mean herself. She could mean the many women farmers she has met at the farmer’s market. She could mean the universal her.
She and I have been here together on so many frosty mornings, so many packets ripped open, so many trenches dug, so many seeds tucked into the ground just inches apart. But on this morning it isn’t about the detail. I suddenly could care less about what day it will freeze or what task to do next.
In this glittering translucent moment I see what has been planted in her. One opalescent truth that she sings to the world….
“I’m three and the farm can be mine!”
Been farming since she was a babe: