News from the Farm | June 16, 2014

Raising a Family on a Farm 

There are several people more qualified than I to talk about raising kids on a farm, but I’ll offer my perspective as a (relatively) new mom. Whenever people find out that we live on a farm with a baby, their immediate reaction is “Wow! Your kid is so lucky! All that open space to run around!” This sentiment is completely true and one of the things I was most looking forward to before my baby was born, but it doesn’t begin to describe the full experience of having kids on a farm. The truth is, there are so many more blessings and challenges to raising kids on a farm than I ever imagined. Rowan is now 22 months old and has really come to love being a farm kid! 

I love watching my child interact with our crew and pick up a little Spanish. I love that he is hearing another language on a regular basis. He is so eager to be able to communicate with them. Sometimes in the afternoons we go out and help the flower crew and he will start to spout off all the Spanish words that he knows. “Buenos Dias!” “Caballo!” “Gracias!” He knows that Catalina is always good for a piece of fruit and Isobel keeps crackers and cookies up on the shelf. He has learned many of the crew member’s names, and knows which trucks they drive. He was lucky enough to be offered a ride on the farm’s biggest and newest tractor by Pancho last week, and I think it was the highlight of his year. Our crew has watched many farm children grow up, and I relish watching him delight in the crew and the crew delight in him. It is really fun to see him making so many new friends.

Speaking of tractors (and trucks and forklifts, etc.), they are one of my biggest fears. Full Belly Farm is a really busy place, and now that my child is so mobile, I sometimes feel like I have to watch him like a hawk to make sure he doesn’t run out into the yard or driveway unsupervised. With 80+ people buzzing around, the farm can be a scary place for a mom. My husband recalls falling off of the back of a truck when he was little. Although he seems to remember this fondly for some reason, I was like, “Are you KIDDING ME?” So terrifying!

Summertime is also a time of long hours and little rest. There are days when I or his dad leave the house long before he wakes up in the morning, and that is no fun. The good news is that I have one of the few jobs where my child gets to spend his day where I work, and I pop over to visit him often. I feel really lucky to be able to have him close by. I know he feels really lucky to be so close by during the day not only to me and my husband but also to his Tata Hallie, his Nana Dru, his Pop- Pop Paul, his uncle Rye Rye and his Tata Hannah. They are always teaching him fun things and letting him tag along for projects. He loves each of them dearly and looks forward to seeing them each day. 

We are already starting to worry about what to do for school. The nearest public school is a half hour away, and should we decide that public school is not for us, the only other option we have at this point is homeschooling, which to be honest, I’m not sure I would be much good at. Like so many other things in the country, if it’s not easily available you just have to make it work yourself. We are talking with other parents in our rural area about starting a small program to give ourselves an alternative.  

Last but not least is the food aspect of living on this farm. My child can identify kale, kohlrabi, beets, radishes, carrots, broccoli, figs, apricots, peaches, etc., etc., etc. Being able to go out and pick a snack off the tree is just awesome. No other way to say it. Sure, he gets the occasional smoothie or treat when we go to town, but for the most part he eats farm food and he loves it. As a parent it is so nice to know that what goes into his growing body is nourishing him. 

So that is the short version of some of the pros and cons to raising a child on a farm – a mixed bag, like most things in life. Overall though, I wouldn’t trade all the space for exploring, good food, time near family and learning opportunities on a farm for anything. Farm living is not for everyone, but it pretty clearly is for us. 

— Jenna Muller













Rowan had mixed feelings about sheep early on (he loves them now!). He has never had that problem with tractors!