Farming with RA

I’m not just growing food, I’m growing the people that eat the food.

I believe that when our community eats healthy, nutritious foods, we will be healthy, more productive and economically better off.   I truly believe that what I do has a penetrating impact on the well being of my community, and my country.   So I can’t stop.   Besides that I love the work, the fresh air, the smell of wet dirt on a cold spring morning, it is my passion.

My most valuable tools.
My hands, my most valuable tools.

In 2013 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.   This has presented some challenges for my farming career.   But it has also brought unity and community to my farm as well.

 

Community 

Community Farm Day 2013
Community Farm Day 2013

Now I am more willing to ask for help from the community through our Community Farm Days and CSA volunteer hours here at Goodness Grows.   I never realized how many people actually want to help on the farm until I invited them to come out!

 

Work is so much more fun in good company!
Work is so much more fun in good company!

 

AgrAbility PA

I have also learned how to adapt to having RA through the AgrAbility Program.   Through AgrAbility PA, I have learned more about assistive technology that I can use to reduce strain on my hands and hips.

Eco Weeder can weed in between plants in rows.
Eco Weeder can weed in between plants in rows.

AgrAbility connected me with occupational therapists to understand how I can improve the safety and design of my daily tasks to prevent further injury.   With financial help of Occupational Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), I was provided with equipment that reduces stress on my joints, preventing further injury.

Farming is still hard work.   Ultimately when I question if what I’m doing is the right thing, I am reminded by my customers, my community, just how much they value what I do.   I hope to be able to keep going for many years to come.

If you know a farmer that is struggling to complete their daily tasks, please let them know that help is available.

 

 

 

 

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