I’ve recently started working at Forty North Farm, a small sustainable farm run by my dear friend Elizabeth and her partner Keenan. Located in Semora, North Carolina (after a recent relocation from Pittsboro), the farm is gearing up for the season. As you might imagine, the logistics of moving a farm are quite complicated. About thirty turkeys, forty-seven ducks, two geese, and six large pigs were herded into various trucks and then driven (very cautiously) to their new home nearly two hours away. The day I helped with the move, we received some very strange looks in the Subway parking-lot where we stopped for lunch (there were about ducks and geese honking inside our truck). Despite the stressful move, all of the animals (and people) that live on Forty North are now safe and very content in their new respective homes on the farm.
My time at the farm is spent in two ten-hour days each week—I drive the hour north from Durham, work all day, spend the night, and then drive home the next night. It’s pretty exhausting work, but extremely rewarding. Keenan has been farming for the past seven or so years, and as such has incredible knowledge about farming techniques, the history of farming, and farm (and farmer) politics. It’s only my second week working at the farm, but forty hours later I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I’m constantly learning and using science, math, and history on a farm—all subjects that intrigue me. Farming (at least the way that Elizabeth and Keenan are doing it) creates an incredibly intimate connection to the physical environs around me. It’s not often in my urban home in Durham, NC that I’ll spend the night cooking my food over the burning coals of a bonfire. Despite my awe and appreciation of the farming life, it’s still hard to imagine living so far away from the vibrant (and recently rated most-tolerant city in the nation) city of Durham. I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with my times at Forty North Farm and look forward to hearing what you think!
Laura Stephenson is an environmental science graduate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she focused in environmental and community health. She is currently working as a farm hand at a small, sustainable farm in Person County, North Carolina called Forty North Farm. In April, she’ll be working full-time at another small, organic farm outside of Hillsborough, North Carolina called Maple Spring Gardens. Laura writes the Farming and the Local Food Scene series about her experiences with local farms and farmers around the Piedmont area of North Carolina.