Definition of a Farm, Please!

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We were sitting around waiting for Joel Salatin to speak.  It was a lovely day this past August, the weather was cool in the morning and just perfect the rest of the day with sweet breezes and sunshine.  The folks that sponsored the event had a nice tract of land hidden in the pine trees that, with a large rented canopy, served as a meeting place, classroom, and stage for Mr. Salatin.  The question that kept coming up as we milled around talking with other attendees was, “Do you have a farm?”  My girlfriend, Nancy, answered, “No…”  Nancy and her husband and beautiful farmgirl daughter have a large herd of goats, make mouthwatering goat cheese, and have a spacious garden.  I said, “Yes, you do!”  I don’t though.  But then a funny thing happened, we started talking to people with little to no land, few if any farm animals, small gardens, lots of dreams.  Holy smokes, I do have a farm!  I sell eggs at my shop, and tend a garden (I also have a CSA for insurance; high altitude gardening could make anyone start drinking).  That is why I love the term ‘mini farm’.  How cute.  I think I have one.

In my mind all the real farmers I know are the ones we’ve done farmer’s markets with all these years.  They won’t hesitate to tell you they are farmers.  I haven’t really sold much, have no extra produce (I can currently garden enough to feed us for roughly, say, about a week out of the year), and rent no less!  That is not the iconic farm I grew up thinking about.

So, what is a farm?  Therefore, what is a farmgirl?  In two years I want fleece animals.  As soon as I learn how, I am going to be the spinning queen!  Then will I have a farm?  When I manage to not need the CSA so much, then will I be a farmgirl?  If I ever own land then will I be?  I am vegetarian, all those pet cows will make a delightful farm!

farm [fahrm] 

noun

1.a tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo, etc., on which crops and often livestock are raised for livelihood.
2.land or water devoted to the raising of animals, fish, plants, etc.: a pig farm; an oyster farm; a tree farm.
Hmmm, well my land is devoted to the raising of animals; 9 cats, 2 dogs, 5 chickens, and 3 teenagers.  By golly, I am a farmer!  I am dubbing this place The Silly Chicken Farm.
So, for all of us that don’t quite fit the description yet, farmgirl is a state of thought and doing.  A balcony of lettuces outside an apartment, a plot in the community gardens, the urban beekeepers, goat babysitters (uh farmers), and the two-thirds of an acre rented in a small town with silly chickens and a garden.  Long live the farmer in all of us!