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A Different Sort of Rich at 中心农贸市场

农贸市场

It was a hot afternoon in Elk Grove, California. So hot in fact, that when I arrived at Ge Moua’s farm around 4 p.m. 汗水汇集在我的腿上,几乎不可能把它们从驾驶座上拿起来. For months, this region was simply a red dot on my research project map. I would spend four months traveling around the western U.S., 收集农业妇女的故事——一个用黑色墨水印出来的计划, 谷歌地图, and Word documents flooded with farmer’s emails and market addresses. 然而,尽管我有严格的计划,我还是无法为萨克拉门托热队做好准备.

Ge greeted me in long pants and a long-sleeved button down. 她的红色格子围裙是她的第二层,好像她可以用它的厚度来抵御高温. She had been working outside since seven in the morning, but I could hardly spot a drop of sweat on her skin. 当她建议我开400米的车到田里去见她时,我决定最好还是走着去.

如果你沿着围着穆阿家族八英亩的芝麻菜的庄稼走一圈, 羽衣甘蓝, 白菜, 紫色的茄子, 还有一口大小的樱桃番茄——你会认为这片土地是由十个人耕种的. 而不是, 葛的土地上发芽的庄稼由葛和她丈夫的两双手照料. 进一步突出, 葛认为她的八亩地不需要其他农民常用的机械和工具. 那天晚上, 她会向我展示她的手如何以战斗的速度穿过一排完美的药草, 拔除杂草, 然后在滑向下一个入侵者之前,勉强离开地面.

自给自足的农民的女儿, 葛在老挝长大, 她在哪里学会种植水稻的, 玉米, 和亚洲蔬菜. 从她的父母, Ge inherited a knack for sprouting crisp, 长豆, a preference for cookie-cutter crop lines, 手持锄头, 和精选的杂草, thrown back to the soil as fertilizer.

She also learned what it feels like to 知道 她吃的东西就像她最喜欢的歌里的歌词,毫不犹豫. 她再也不用停下来怀疑自己是不是在服用有害的化学物质了, 或者剥离土壤中的养分,将农药冲刷到周围的溪流中.

“I don’t have to worry about the food I’m growing, because I 知道 exactly what I’m growing,“解释说通用电气. 这种安全感正是激励她追随父母的脚步成为一名农民的原因.

离开老挝后,葛在西雅图郊外定居下来,从1995年到2005年她在那里务农. 她解释说,西雅图的农业和老挝的农业并没有太大的不同. 然而,当葛光华搬到加州中央谷时,他对这家公司产生了陌生.

“Here, it’s harder to find land on your own,“解释说通用电气. “如果你自己找到了土地,法律合同比在西雅图要复杂得多.”

在停止务农四年后,葛决定在这片新的土地上扎根她的热情. 通用电气转向 加州FarmLink, an organization that links independent farmers with land, 贷款, and other resources necessary for developing a successful farm business. With the help of 加州FarmLink, 葛在第一年就锁定了加州农业的营销部门.

Soon, Ge’s new business environment no longer posed a challenge.  而不是, a new trial took its place, and this one was impossible to escape. When Ge mentioned the challenges posed by the Central Valley climate, I remembered the sticky feeling that lined my limbs, 就像多了一层皮肤, and a sharp dryness resurfaced in my mouth, even as I sipped from the Nalgene bottle in front of me. It was as if I had forgotten the heat, displaced from one haze by a second haze, 是由葛的文字创造的, her reflections on her childhood spent in Laos, 她所采取的做法, 她的做法也有所改变.

A Different Sort of Rich at 中心农贸市场

在加州中部, the dog days of August resurface for most of September, only to rear their scorching heads again in October, and perhaps pop in for a surprise visit in February and March as well. Ge had to worry about irrigation pipes and how to conserve water resources, 同时为她的作物提供干旱生存所需的水分. Combating these concerns produced countless additional expenses.

“How about the stickiness, the constant heat-headache, the mindless haze?”——我想问问. 而不是, I nodded along as Ge lamented the complexity of irrigation pipes, suddenly aware not only of my sticky limbs, 也是我的相对弱点. 葛和她的长层次站着, submerged in the Elk Grove heat since seven this morning, 然而她唯一关心的就是这个 I 不要在农场里走太多.

在那一刻, the only question I could think to ask was “why?” 为什么葛优决定从轻松的西雅图搬到令人窒息的加州? 对于葛老师来说,答案毫不犹豫地出现了:她这么做是为了她的家庭. 太平洋西北地区人满为患, most schools were stronger in California, 和她的女儿, 现在是一名医科学生, 曾梦想上伯克利大学. 热爱家庭, 葛开始在加州务农, 还有对家庭的热情, 葛继续在加州务农.

“我想让我的孩子们知道,如果他们愿意,他们可以自己种蔬菜,”她解释说. 对葛来说,这种自给自足,以及对土地的尊重是必不可少的.

She would never push her children to pursue 农业 careers, as she only hopes they choose lives of passion and stability. 仍然, if they wish to grow vegetables in a backyard garden, 无论是为了收入还是为了沙拉, 他们会知道如何去做, and they will value the food on their tables. Ge’s work is driven not only by her own family, but by the idea of family involvement in sustainable agriculture, 在一般情况下.

A Different Sort of Rich at 中心农贸市场

“Grocery shopping is not a luxury,” said Ge. “你去杂货店从来不会花时间和家人在一起,你去那里是因为你需要食物.”

葛女士意识到,她的大多数顾客都把农贸市场当作奢侈品. 他们来参观新鲜农产品, 拿任何好看的, and to spend time with their families. 除了她的顾客,葛女士还发现了农业和家庭力量之间的联系. 在过去的五年里, she has met many couples in their 20s and 30s, 经常和小孩子在一起, 他们已经开始耕种.

“These people are highly educated,” said Ge. “They could make a good living by not working from dusk to dawn.”

然而, these young people are focused on conserving the environment, 而不是在收入池里游泳. +, 他们喜欢农业, 特别是回到耕种土地的基本原则.

“历史永远不会改变,你可以走得很远,然后你必须回去,”葛说. “我认为人们正在意识到自己种菜比去商店买菜更好. That’s why these young, educated people are 农业. I think it’s going to change the shape of this country.”

Ge believes that this trend of going back to the land 让很多家庭聚在一起. 我们坐在她的野餐桌旁, 在防水布的阴影下, Ge reflected on a cultural shift in the 50s and 60s. 大多数男人会去工作,孩子们会去上学,而女人会呆在家里. Not only did these expected roles introduce countless limitations, but many people would not see their spouse or children for most of the day.

Farming families get to spend much more time together, and they learn to communicate with each other as well. 这些家庭, 回归土地不仅代表了保护自然环境和与自然环境联系的机会, but to connect with each other as well.

“Farming isn’t going to make you rich,” said Ge. “但它会让你拥有丰富的人际交往技能,以及对环境的理解.”

“是的!”我回答. “一种不同的富人!“我也许不是农民,但突然之间,我觉得自己也中了某种大奖. My conversation with Ge condensed countless concepts, 短语, 图片, 在过去的几个月里,这些话一直在我的脑海中徘徊.

当我离开葛穆阿(音译)的农场时,一袋成熟的西红柿从我的右肩上荡来荡去. 在那一刻, 我有一种强烈的冲动,想把自己打回那个我经常对这个国家的大多数事物感到幻灭的千禧年代. 然而,一袋西红柿压住了我的主臂,所以我想象着. I drew up an image of all of those young people, 务农不是因为他们需要这么做, but because they truly valued the environment and each other. 我想象着那些人回到土地上,就在那一刻,我让自己感受到了希望.

You can find Ge Moua and her hand-picked sprouts at the 中心农贸市场 星期天早上8点开始.m. 到12页.m.

This article originally appears on the writer’s blog UprootedDiaries.com. 照片由艾玛·齐默曼提供.

*编者按:本文最初提到了中城农贸市场, but Ge has since switched to Sacramento’s 中心农贸市场.

A Different Sort of Rich at 中心农贸市场 via @萨克拉门托press

艾玛·齐默尔曼

艾玛是一名波士顿作家, 积极分子, 以及主要探讨环境正义和妇女权利主题的长跑运动员. Emma graduated from Grinnell College in 2018. 2018年7月开始, she spent four months traveling around the western United States, and collecting stories from women in agriculture, including two months in the Central Valley of California.

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