I write about food, faith, and womanhood from a farmwife’s perspective.
I'm aware that the word FARMWIFE is quite the paradox.
Some may read that word from a conservative viewpoint and believe one thing that is far from my truth.
Others may view that word from a more liberal understanding and their bias would also be incorrect.
Somewhere in the balance, I've discovered the unique life God intended for me.
Part keeper of the home, part social justice advocate.
As I work this ground and discover the oppressions we put on one another I’m determined that many farmwives likely lived hidden lives that balanced care of the home with what is right for community.
I'm telling my story for all of us.
THE FARMIFE PARADOX
I'm wife to Nathan and mother to five children: Carter, Elizabeth, Lilah, Adaline and Sterling. You will meet them through these pages, but they have their own story to tell..
Together we are full-time farmers in South Central Kentucky.
Our life work is to create opportunity for farmers and eaters that is built on truth, opportunity, and equity.
We are builders of a domestic church where daily prayer, work, and community binds us. I am in currently in oblation formation to become an ecumenical Benedictine with the sisters at Mt. Tabor Monastery.
THE HOME IS MY SANCTUARY THE WORLD MY CHURCH THE MONASTERY MY REFUGE
My personal food story began in childhood, having limited access to fresh food. While my single mother wanted nothing more than to provide me with high-quality food, the realities of our circumstances meant that wasn’t always possible. When I was 16, I started working at a local orchard and my ideas about food began to transform. I loved to witness people experience the first peach of the season and the celebration of apples every fall. I believe that I was given a vision of hope that would create connection between people and all of the foods that can be grown in Kentucky year-round.
My husband Nathan grew up on a farm in Hart County, Kentucky. his family grew commodity crops: corn, soy, tobacco. Tobacco paid his way off the farm and into college so that - like many young people at the turn of the century - he could pursue a “career.” We both received degrees in agriculture from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY, and after graduation we were both hired by the University of Kentucky to assist tobacco farmers transition to fruit and vegetable crops. Ultimately, we were given the hard task of helping farmers stay on their family farm.
In April 2011, together with a group of other farmers, makers and community members, Nathan and I started Community Farmers Market in Bowling Green, Kentucky. From the beginning, food access and helping people farm full-time has been our mission. We’ve encountered life experiences that strengthened our connection to locally grown and seasonal foods and, over time, began growing more of those foods ourselves. In April 2013, we became full-time farmers on only two acres, thus the name of our family’s farm: Need More Acres.
As my earlier vision became more of a reality we found ourselves facing opposition from present day power arrangements that I believed to be in direct opposition to the desires of God. It was over the next few years that I would find myself questioning everything I had ever known to be true. Politics, religion, hunger, womanhood, food, race, and inequitable systems in general would be wrestled with one by one. It was a time of healing old wounds.
After a time of darkness, I was mysteriously called to the Monasteries of Kentucky. It was there that the vision that had been given to me so many years before was restored and I was encouraged to both settle in at home with my own Benedictine ”daily rule” of prayer, work, and community. The strength I gained prepared me for the deliverance of new possibility in my community work.
Together with our five children, Carter, Elizabeth, Lilah, Adaline and Sterling, we have settled in on 20 acres in Halfway, Kentucky. We now provide an all-you-can-eat, full diet farm membership for a dozen or so families, continue to sell at our beloved farmers market, and source to local businesses and organizations like food pantries and school systems. We continue to move forward in hope for the future.