~Welcome from Pam Smith, President of FOG Board of Directors~
Hello! My name is Pam Smith. Nowadays, I am a consumer of organic foods. But, in the 1970s, I was a farmer of organic watermelons.
Before I became a farmer, I was a counselor at a women’s health center and a graduate student in anthropology. One day, two of my fellow counselors came to me and said that they could tell I was miserable as a graduate student and that they would like to have me quit school and join them in farming. They were among the first in a new wave of organic growing. There were five of them, I made six.
Our first year we grew three acres and our second year, we grew 30 acres! I was a city girl—I had absolutely no experience in nature. I grew up in Los Angeles in an apartment surrounded by asphalt. Farming was my introduction to the natural world.
I had two favorite jobs – I loved tilling and I loved harvesting. Tilling is started in the winter time here in Florida so it was cool in the fields. It was peaceful. I walked along slowly, figuring out which little seedlings looked the very strongest and then I tilled out the competitors close by in order to give the strong ones the best chance of survival and health. It was very satisfying and now when I look back at it, I see that it was also very meditative – just me, the birds and the little bitty new plants.
As the season progressed, so did tilling efforts. The plants became larger but they still needed those weeds cut out because weeds are by nature very fast growing and strong as heck. So now there was the challenge of finding the weeds under the now-vines of the watermelon plants. But it was still relatively cool out and it was still very satisfying to find those weeds and eliminate them, knowing that this is how we would have big, healthy watermelons come harvest time.
I had to learn to love being covered in dirt and I had to learn to be flexible with weather patterns.
I am thrilled to be part of the FOG Board of Directors and leading the organic food and farming movement in Florida.
We would love for you to join us as a Friend of FOG member. You can join at any level and know you are supporting an organization that works diligently to change the landscape of organic food and farming in Florida!