After eight years of farming side by side day in and day out, business building, no health insurance, the financial uncertaintity that accompanies self employment, we wanted to try working for someone else. We dreamed of playing on a beach in the warm sun and clocking out of work at the end of the day so we could spend time with our children more. I will admit it was mostly me that dreamed of a new adventure and a new adventure is just what we got.
So we rented out our farm and boarded that plane. We had landed very good positions with a company that was managing a ranch and organic vegetable farm on the island of Maui. Our moving expenses were covered, we would have health insurance, retirement, and time off, all while getting to explore the Hawaiian Islands. It was really exciting to start a new farming adventure. Our time spent in Maui was a great adventure. We learned a lot and got to know some really great people, breathtaking land, and a completely different culture.
But our jobs were a huge wake up call to the world of corporate farming, wealthy land investments, and colonialization. We very quickly realized just what we had left behind. Just how special and meaningful it was to own our own little slice of heaven on Earth and have the opportunity to tend it, cherish it, and feed our community from it. We had what so many people dream of, an economically sustainable and flourishing farm. We had what corporate multi millionaires think they can create by throwing money at it, or marketing it just so, or hiring the next best "it" person. But money cannot buy what we left. Money and ego cannot grow a community of people coming together to support and feed each other. The authenticity that organically accompanies true land stewardship cannot be staged in a photo shoot. The heart and soul that a farmer pours into their crops, livestock, and home, can never be replicated through land grabs by the wealthy elite.
The winter before we left we sat down as a family and we made a list of what we wanted if we were to move. On the top of everyone's list was "Community" we wanted to move toward community. It can get very isolating out here on the farm and we had all begun to feel that way. The amazing beautiful thing in that came about through our adventure is that we found it, we found community, and it was right in front of our faces all along. Everything that we thought we were moving towards was here waiting for us to see it. Friends, family, a home, an important way to contribute to society. We had everything we moved away to find, it just took us full circle to realize and see it. I don't need to go into all the details for all the reasons we yearned for a change nor do I need to go into the details of what we experienced at our positions in Maui to really wake us up to our blessings we left behind, but we realize now more than ever just how blessed and rich our life here in ND is. We also realize more than ever just how important what we are doing here on Riverbound Farm is. Family owned Farms are vital to communities. The farmer is an extremely important person that every community needs. The farmer holds the knowledge of the land and how to work with it to nurish people. This hard to articulate quiet knowledge and knowing is a sacred job to Brian and I, and we are in complete appreciation for the opportunity to fulfill this sacred gift of farming. We are so thankful to our CSA members over the years who have cocreated this special endeavor with us. They are the other half of this beautiful marriage of local economics and land stewardship. To everyone who fed your children from our farm, who invested in us each season, and shared in this special gift, thank you. The North Dakota sky has never felt so blue, the rolling hills have never looked so kind, and the people who have shared this experience with us have never seemed as precious as they do now. So thank you and we look forward to providing healthy, healing, enlivened food for years and years to come to all North Dakotans.