Farming Families – What is a Family?

Over the next month, we will be discussing families.  Specifically farm families, but I’m pretty sure much of what we’ll talk about will pertain to even urban families.  If we’re going to discuss families, perhaps we need to ask “What is a family?”

Five Characteristics of Farm Families:

1.  The first answer is that families are biological:  parents, children, grandparents, maybe even uncles and aunts.

2.  But we all know family means more than a biological relation.  Spouses, business partners, interns, apprentices, volunteers, employees, customers, vendors…all can be an integral part of the operation.  Most of them probably more involved than your grandparents!

3.  Farm families have a shared connection.  A connection to the land, to each other, and their local communities.

4.  Farm families have that unique situation where they live and work together.  At a seminar recently, stress was the topic.  I made the remark to my table that my husband causes me the most stress.  My tablemates were aghast and one even asked if we were separated.  Certainly not!  But I live and work with him 24/7, there’s bound to be some conflict.  Think of your co-workers, would you like to live with them as well as work?

5.  Farm families wear a lot of different hats.  We’ll talk more about these responsibilities as the month goes on.

And because I’m a teacher, I’m giving you a bit of homework each day.  Just a few questions to think about or discuss with your farm family.


Day 1 Homework:  As we work to explore and define the role of family in farming, consider your “family”.  Who are your integral members?  Recognize them and identify their role.  Consider starting a journal over this journey during November.  Consider that your first assignment.  Do you know all the members in your farm “family”?

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