Connect with Others: Sowing Seeds of Support and Connection
Being a parent is an exhilarating adventure filled with love, laughter, and life lessons around every corner. As farmers, we've discovered that tending the land is about cultivating crops and nurturing connections that can transform our lives and communities.
We want to celebrate the resilience and vibrancy that comes from forging friendships at any age – from the early years of parenthood to the seasoned wisdom that comes with experience. By opening our hearts and minds to the world of knowledge, collaboration, and friendship, we unlock many opportunities, both on and off the farm.
Imagine a world where we freely share our insights, successes, and failures with fellow parents and neighbors. A world where collaboration takes root, enabling us to learn, grow, and innovate together. In this world, friendships flourish, weaving a safety net of support, encouragement, and shared experiences that fortify our journey as parents.
The rewards of these connections are robust and far-reaching. Immersing ourselves in an inclusive community exposes us to many perspectives, ideas, and inspirations. We gain wisdom from those who walked the path before us and find solace in knowing that we are not alone in our challenges.
But above all, these connections inspire. They spark a fire within us to make a difference in our part of the world, to create a thriving environment for our children to grow and learn, and to leave a legacy that will foster positive change for generations to come.
Nurturing a Community of Support
The sun's rays bring the farm to life, and with it come the sounds of nature. We can feel a sense of purpose as we go about our daily tasks and responsibilities, knowing we are part of something bigger.
One way to bond with others is by joining local clubs, joining a community farm share like at the farm, or following along to the kids' sports practices. These communities offer a supportive space to share stories, swap tips, and seek advice. You immediately share at least one thing - whatever brought you to that club or event, you build from there.
If you associate these with dread of someone taking out a “brag book” or being excluded from a group of neighbors that has known each other since birth - take another look. You could listen to someone who doesn’t have anyone at home to share victories with. You could share a new story and breathe life into a tired record of stories.
Additionally, these groups can provide an outlet to get out of the house and meet other people in real life, such as through field trips, potlucks, and educational workshops. And you bring something home with you that might grow into something more.
Since 2016, we’ve been attending an annual farming convention. Every year, it's packed with folks who understand what it takes to farm day in and day out. They “get us”. It’s now more relaxing than going to a spa. It was scary to walk in there the first night, introduce yourself, and try to spark a connection with dozens of folks we didn’t know.
My wife was really worried; she described it as making her physically ill to walk into the room where folks would single us out at the new people. She stepped in the door, surveyed the room, and spotted a group of 3 women playing cards. She didn’t spend a minute before she made a bee-line to them and offered to be a fourth. They sized her up and didn’t even ask her if she knew how to play. They invited her in, and she didn’t have to move for an hour. Those ladies were her saving grace for the entire week - she could find them in a crowd, get introduced to others, and simply wave as she walked by if they were already engaged. Everybody has to walk into a room and be the new person occasionally. Know if you are good with one-on-ones, small groups, or if you are the life of the party and make it work for you.
We were thrilled to make meaningful connections at the first convention and have been delighted to see these relationships grow and blossom into lifelong friendships. We now have a strong support network of fellow farmers to rely on for advice, encouragement, and a sympathetic ear.
The Benefits of Connecting
When we sow seeds of support and connection with others, we experience many benefits.
- Someone Cares for You: Having someone ask you to play pickleball, show up for practice, or volunteer at the pantry feeds a basic need in everyone.
- Shared Knowledge & Resources: Connecting with other families taps into knowledge & resources. Learn from their experiences and innovative practices, and leave anything that isn’t useful behind. Appreciate there is help out there.
- Emotional Support: Life can be easily isolating. Connecting with others requires effort - on your terms - and it creates a support system that understands your joys & your struggles. Be there for them, and they will be there for you.
- Lifelong Friendships: Forge deep & meaningful friendships beyond the events that bring you together. Meet at a cooking class, become lifelong members of the YMCA, and get your steps in every week together.
Rooted and Connected
Finding the balance between farm life (or work life) and family time is an ongoing journey, but it's a journey that fills our hearts. At Farmer Joe's Gardens, we believe that by nurturing our roots, we cultivate a strong foundation for our families. Embrace the joys and challenges of raising kids on a farm, and remember to prioritize those cherished family moments. Together, we can create lasting memories and a legacy that will be treasured for generations to come.