A confession – I know nothing about farming. I never grew up on a farm. I never even lived close to a farm (until I came to Virginia Tech).
A fair question to ask a farmer is how did you become a farmer? For me…it is something that I always wanted to do, likely stemming from a complete fascination with nature as a whole. As a kid, I grew cacti and houseplants. I didn’t have my first vegetable garden until college…when I finally rented a house that had a yard. I dug up a plot by hand and planted my first seeds.
But how do you take simple curiosity to the next level?
- That is where we are lucky to live in an area rich with agricultural “know-how” and happenings. Whether through the local extension offices, the university, or regional foods organizations, we’ve been fortunate to be able to participate in several workshops and educational/hands-on seminars.
- Farm tours are invaluable and highly recommended.
- Asking questions of area growers is essential. It is remarkable to me open and sharing every farmer we talk to is!
- Of course, the internet has amazing resources at our very finger tips.
- Finally, there are numerous books out there that have excellent information.
The off season is a perfect time to reflect, revisit, and refine ideas. It is when I turn to the books and written word for inspiration.
Here is a glimpse of my “learning library” in case it might help another potential farmer: