Author: Emilee Gaulke
Location: Middleton, WI
Even without campers this week at Growing Food and Sustainability, the farm has been bustling with activity. Activities included planning for our second camp session, building a produce wash table, planning for our harvest festival, and our main focus, “beautifying” the farm in preparation for our on-farm dinner.
The beautification process included a lot of weeding and mulching of pathways, two tasks that involved a lot of time in the sun and physical effort. In other words, after a day on the farm we left covered in dirt and sweat. Although at times it was hard, uncomfortable work, the dirt and sweat didn’t fail to make me feel like I had done a good, hard day’s work that made a positive impact on the program.
Knowing that the dirt and sweat makes me feel accomplished and productive, one may think I would not apologize or be embarrassed by my appearance once out after work. Still when going to a store or like this past Friday, when I was looking at apartments, I feel the need to apologize and sometimes even defend my appearance. Why, in Madison, an area so welcoming to local, fresh produce, do I feel uncomfortable that I am dirty?
I suppose at times I am still reminded of individuals’ comments to me about why I would ever want to work outside or even worse on a farm? But at the end of the day I am doing what makes me happy, and I truly feel like educating youth while providing fresh, healthy food to the community is one of the ways I can help change the world for the better.
Also, it can be amusing to see how simply showering and putting on nice clothes can change someone’s perception of you and result in comments about how great you look with relatively little effort.
Us farmers and gardeners look pretty darn good, we just aren’t afraid to get dirty.
Author: Emilee Gaulke recently graduated from Lake Forest College and moved to Madison. She has been involved with Growing Food and Sustainability as a summer intern since May and is our #1 compost collector!