Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ignorance -#Sol 16 Day 29

Ignorance - #Sol 16 Day 29

Since I have been writing about dreams, I will write a very short piece (since I lack knowledge anyway and have papers to grade) about my dream to live on a farm for a period of my life.

Okay, I will confess that reading novels by Willa Cather in high school or even more recently Roxanne Gay's An Untamed State where the rural setting plays a healing role has always made me yearn for a life on a farm. Yes, more confessions: I loved watching Little House on the Prairie with Laura Ingalls and her amazingly dedicated and loving dad.  Rural life seemed to be always associated with families and values and of course urban life offered another perspective on life.

 Please do not judge me. I am not trying to romanticize rural life. I obviously do not know anything about farming besides scenic walks on farms in Haiti or the typical apple picking trips in the fall.

What I do know is that agriculture and planting instills me with a sense of wonder: that a seed tucked inside the earth can become a corn plant, a mango tree, a banana tree....

This Sunday after church, I found out about a program called WWOOF-World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms 

The WWOOF  gives individuals the opportunity to volunteer in farms around the world. The writers of the website explain: 

"You may be asked to help with a variety of tasks like sowing seed, making compost, gardening, planting, cutting wood, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing, making mud-bricks, wine making, cheese making and bread making." (http://www.wwoof.net/how-it-works/)

This program looks interesting, but I wonder: will the host farmers be nice? Will it be safe? Okay, as an African-American woman whose ancestors were enslaved, I am a bit skeptical about volunteering my services to an unknown family and farm owners. Okay, I had to let that out....

I wish I had even considered to study agronomy in college. Then again, I was not so great in science.

The closest I have come

In 2nd grade when we planted a lima bean with a cotton ball and water.

Or when we planted a classroom carrot when I was teaching middle school.

When I visit my parents' province in Haiti, I love to walk through the farms. Okay, I will admit as a city girl, I am not really into animal manure, but I realize how the latter makes the land rich and fertile. I love walking across the field. I love seeing the different plants growing. I never cease to feel so ignorant as people point out how "things" I eat every day do not sprout from supermarket shelves.

Oh, and I did spend one summer, travelling in the beautiful mountains of Haiti. My volunteering position was to visit different flower shops and some farms and encourage people to compost or buy this specific compost the organization was selling (Okay, I guess that organization had its own financial benefits). At least, I learned about composting that summer.

Thank you for reading.  After this post, there are two more posts. I look forward to reading your remaining posts.

Last Words
I will finish with one of the miracles of nature that I learned while visiting a banana plantation. To the farmers and scientists out there, please pardon my ignorance.

Once walking through a banana plantation, I noticed that each tree had a baby tree right next to it. Actually, the writers of this website that I am about to share say that they are not trees but rather "perennial herbs."   This is what the writers of this  informative website state, "A banana plant takes about 9 months to grow up and produce a bunch of bananas. Then the mother plant dies. But around the base of it are many suckers, little baby plants." (http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-bananas.html)

Isn't that amazing that nature takes care of itself and makes sure another banana plant is growing?  


"As a bunch of bananas ripen on one stem, a sucker (on the left of the plant’s main stalk) begins to grow from the base of the plant. When the taller plant is finished fruiting, the sucker will grow to take its place." (https://student.societyforscience.org/article/saving-banana)

Please feel free to send any corrections or clarifications of any of my "wrong facts" in your comments.


  1. Natasha, I loved reading this piece! So many details that spoke to me. I too loved watching Little House on the Prairie (Ma, Pa, Mary, Laura, and baby Carrie! Almanzo! Nellie!) and reading Willa Cather. And at dinner tonight with a good friend, I was just telling about WWOOF, which Ms. Wilhelmy told me about last year. Apparently people have amazing experiences with this organization. Your line about your ancestors being enslaved and your ensuing skepticism was so powerful.
    Thanks, too, for the informative tidbit about banana tree suckers. Who knew? Nature is miraculous.
    I love this journey through your dreams. Keep'em coming!

  2. We should chat about farming sometime! I didn't grow up on a working farm, but we had a huge vegetable garden, chickens, a goat, sheep, and two ponies! It was fun, when I look back at it, but a lot of work.

    Also, my husband's cousin spent six months WWOOF'ing in New Zealand a few years ago. Since then, it's something I'd love to do, also... Maybe. :)

  3. I DID grow up on a farm: not too romantic, but I did like that I could go outside whenever I wanted and escape at any moment. It's that freedom that makes me want to get back to it. I think kids at school are into WWOOF'ing. I think I have a kid who's doing it now, even. Nope. Not for me. Nothing glamorous about that life, but I enjoyed reading your post and hearing about your dreams.

  4. This was an interesting read today! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm a city girl. I know nothing about farming. I love hearing about your dreams. I wrote about my dreams today. Powerful to sit down and write about it!