by Jason McCobb
One would not think adventure when he or she thinks about farming but in every sense of the word, it is truly an adventure. I am not just a farmer; I am starting a local food system. My business does not start and end on the farm – I also build gardens in backyards, I teach both kids and adults about agriculture and also compost food from restaurants and grocery stores. In my area of Boca Raton, Florida, although we have very large agriculture communities surrounding, we do not see much of this produce. Furthermore, most farms only grow a few different things – sugar being the biggest here. Therefore we developed a problem and need to create a local food system.
In my last Blindfold article for the Generation-Y issue I spoke about farming and the issues we are going to face in the future, since then I have upped my job description to include more writing and now music reviews and interviews (see my work in this issue). In my travels around town, doing talks, the first thing I hear is, “You don’t look like a farmer.” I guess they were expecting a guy wearing overalls with a twang in his talk, speaking simple words and listening to only country music. After hearing this I thought, we need to change the image of the farmer and let people know we are ordinary people and start the notion that it is cool to farm. I am big into music and love live shows, so I thought why not try this angle. In addition to writing for Blindfold I have also started writing for a local food blog called Clean Plate Charlie. This company also puts out a weekly magazine throughout Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach called New Times, for our area they are the “go to” for music and events. So I started doing music reviews for them as well in hopes to help change the classic farming image.
So in addition to feeding the animals, planting seeds, pulling weeds, harvesting, composting, cleaning the chicken coop, teaching classes and building gardens, I have taken on more. Every day is something different with a new adventure waiting. Sure it is not all glamorous; I have my share of problems. Like for instance we had three weeks straight of rain and flooding, my pig got hoof rot, and now there are so many flies and mosquitoes that they could carry off a horse. I think this is what makes this career so interesting and fun is that there is always something new and each day is never the same.
Before becoming a farmer I tried lots of things like soldier, prison guard, waiter, bouncer, athlete, and then I got into business distributing Red Bull. It wasn’t until I got stressed out from being in business that I found my calling in farming, thanks to my wife. Now I could not be happier, even though my days are longer than ever and I am doing more work than I ever did. My alarm goes off everyday at 4:30 a.m. and sometimes I don’t finish until seven or eight. Then I shower, eat, help clean up and put my daughter to bed. Sometimes after all this I will burn the midnight oil and stay up reading, writing, or researching.
I always say, “I work for the greater good,” and I feel that my life has purpose, meaning and I am appreciated. Becoming a farmer is the best decision I ever made and it has been the greatest adventure I have ever been on. If I had it to do all over again, I would have skipped everything else and went straight to the farm.