Are you manic yet?
It’s summer in Alaska. Lots of light, things growing fast, always getting ready for the next thing. You can see the signs of manic farmers down at the Homer Farmers Market in the huge savoy cabbage and kohlrabi, the delicately arranged flowers and herbs, the carefully bagged mixes of lettuces, and the multitude of other manic veggies.
Who does all that work? Let me tell you, farming is not a solitary occupation. A perfect example is Homer Gardens, owned by Ken Hahn.
Dr. Hahn has two hoop houses, a greenhouse, gardens, peony field, chickens and bees. And he has a day job at the hospital being, well, Dr. Hahn. So one of the ways Homer Gardens keeps going is with the aid of WWOOFers from the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program.
WWOOFers are folks looking to gain experience on a real working farm. In exchange for work on the farm, WWOOFers get some agreed upon sort of room and board. Hahn uses this program as well as any willing friends or relatives who like to dig in the dirt.
That’s why, though it is his farm, you see a variety of faces at his booth each week selling his produce.
Many Market farmers have used friends, family and WWOOFers. Some prefer the reliability of paid interns. Some like Bob Durr will just invite you to come pick your own. Regardless, the work can’t be done alone.
It’s like raising a family. Since farmers know this so well, the Market is happy to have the Baby Oasis over by the Kid’s Activities now. Rebekah Theriot and Michelle New from the Homer Birth Network are providing a quiet, private space in their tent for nursing, diaper changes or just quiet down time. It’s nice to know that you aren’t shunned out into the parking lot to take care of things alone, but supported by a loving community.
It takes a village, as they say.
So head down to the Market this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. down on Ocean Drive to show (and be shown) a little support in these manic days.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.