What motivates ambitious young entrepreneurs to pursue farming as a career, knowing full well that they could end up struggling financially — forever?
That’s a question that each of us has to answer for ourselves, ultimately. But if you’ve caught a chronic case of the farming bug, you probably don’t have to think too hard about it.
“It’s a really big deal to me that I get to interact with the landscape alongside my family, and that we get to do the work together.”
For episode 49 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I had the pleasure of sitting down with my friend Luke Groce of Groce Family Farm in southern Indiana to pick his brain about what he does and why he does it.
Luke and his wife Katherine — along with their four young children — live and work and learn and play on 25 acres of gorgeous rolling pasture in the heart of Amish country, where they raise all manner of livestock animals to provide the highest quality meat possible to the Kentuckiana region.
Following the birth of their fourth child early in 2018, Luke offered to hire me to take over one of their two farmer’s market booths in Louisville, KY, so that Katherine could stay home with the baby, and so that I would have a venue to sell my farmed and foraged produce in my first season as a market gardener.
As you’ll hear us discuss, this arrangement turned out to be the primary reason why I was able to make ends meet from month to month this year. And though it was not without significant financial burden for the Groces, Luke clearly values being able to offer a helping hand to wannabe farmers like me who are following in his footsteps.
I hope that his gracious generosity will serve as an example to others for whom family and community are more important than the almighty dollar. It’s easy enough to pay lip service to those values, but how to you actually follow through and live them, in the context of a hyper-capitalist culture that doesn’t generally allow to you stay at home with your family?
You should definitely not get into farming if you’re hoping to make the big bucks, or even the medium-sized bucks. But as you dive deeper, you’ll find no shortage of very good non-financial reasons why you might pursue a career in farming.
It won’t always be fun, and it will rarely be easy, but for those of us who’ve caught the bug, we couldn’t imagine doing anything else with our time.
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