By now, most of you have probably heard the news via my wife’s blog. But I thought I’d go ahead and share things from my perspective.
For about 5 years, I’ve worked at a software company. It hasn’t been THAT bad. The hours are somewhat flexible. The office is close enough to our house that I can bike. The people are nice. The coffee is better than it used to be. I’m thankful I’ve been able to work here. But it certainly isn’t what I want to do forever. The work isn’t rewarding or satisfying.
Of course, when you have a family, the criteria of “Is this job rewarding?” falls somewhere below “Can you afford to pay your mortgage?” and “Can you feed your children?” So I kept working here. I daydreamed about doing other things. I’d occasionally look for other jobs but the pickings are slim around here.
So I tried to stay positive about the job I did have. I applied myself to other interests like writing and our garden. Curiously, other opportunities started to open up. I began working part time at our Parish with the youth group. More writing and speaking opportunities became available for Haley. We stopped having to live month to month and were able to actually save a little bit.
Then, last year, when we were in Waco for a friend’s wedding, Haley suggested I apply for an internship at the World Hunger Relief Farm (“the farm,” for short). Haley and I both volunteered there when we went to Baylor and it’s a pretty incredible place. World Hunger Relief started as a place to teach sustainable agriculture techniques to people who wanted to work with poor communities overseas. That’s still a big part of what they do but they’ve also expanded to address food issues here in the US, working with schools and community groups in Waco.
I knew living at the farm would be the perfect way to learn the skills we need to pursue our dreams. I also knew living there would mean taking up the kind of community and simplicity we want. So I applied. And got the internship. And we’re moving.
There’s a lot that could be said about all of this but I want to go ahead and hit a few of the basic questions I get most often.
What kind of farm is it?
Well they’ve got a very large garden that supports a big CSA program and a veggie van that delivers low cost produce to inner city areas in Waco. There are also goats for milk, cows and pigs for meat, chickens, turkeys, and bees. It’s a small farm and they focus mostly on sustainable agricultural techniques that translate well to the developing world. So there isn’t a big combine rolling around anywhere. If you’re interested, you can read more about the farm here.
What’s the internship like?
The program I’ll be doing is 13 months. We’ll live in a small apartment on the farm and our room and board will be covered. I’ll do general farm work in the morning and in the afternoon I’ll take classes and focus on internship specific tasks. As the livestock intern, that will start with the goat dairy and then transition to the cows and pigs.
What happens afterwards?
That’s a good question. And we don’t have an exact answer yet. I’m fairly certain I’d like to keep farming. And I’d also like to work with the poor. We’re hoping that our time on the farm will give us some clarity about our skills and goals and where we want to go next.
Are you crazy?
Probably. But I think I’d be crazier to work a job I don’t like forever. The biggest thing we’re giving up is closeness to our family. We’re also giving up security but I think that might be a good thing.
But I’ll gain good, honest work. And lots of vegetables. And a vibrant community. And I’ll get to see Haley and the kids much more often since we’ll all be together on the farm. And I’ll learn to milk goats.
So off we go. Adventure awaits.