During our final Farm and Food Systems class of the semester, students gathered in my house to share their “This I Believe” statements about their approach to eating. Avery, one of our brilliant and passionate student farmers, shared the following: I believe that each person should have equal access to food. Good food. Food that leaves you feeling warm and full at night. Food that gives you strength and energy to make it through the day. I believe that all people deserve to know each step their food took until it traveled onto their plates. They deserve to know how to cook it so it tastes so good. My goal is to make this a reality. I don’t know how yet, but I am working on it. It occupies my thoughts all day long, I get lured in by dreams of the good I could do. I am not sure where this passion came from. This passion of creating food, that is. Maybe it was my mother, who brought me to the community gardens to pick what our own garden couldn’t provide. Or my father who would tell me bedtime stories of what was in our soil, and the changing lands. My parents taught me that being part of our family meant spending weekends stacking wood so we could be warm when the winter came, and taking down old fencing so the new boarders could move their horses in. But somehow over the last eight months my responsibility to my family and my childish desire to have a pony and lots of cats evolved into this need. This desire that is taking over my life. I need to feed people. I need to teach people how to be fed. I have quickly become the girl who gets a little too excited about milking a cow or weeding a garden. Often, when deep in the fields of the farm, my back hurting and my hands becoming chapped and raw, I pause and wonder if I have ever seen anything more beautiful or if I have ever been happier. I love to watch the farmers work, their dedication, their scars, their plates at breakfast, the soft sweet words they whisper to the animals they love. The smell of bag balm on their hands at morning gather. They endlessly work to feed us, to feed this community. And yet they have time to teach us, and time for tea at the end of the day, in mugs made by their own hands. They have taught me statistics, facts, and ethics. They have taught me compassion, empathy, and realism. I’m not sure how I fell head over heels in love with such an emotionally and physically demanding work. Maybe it is because I yet to experience the true hardship one goes through. But for now, I want to learn. Later, I want fields of vegetables and acres of sheep. I want goats at the milking station and that feeling of hope in my stomach as I drop animals at slaughter. I want the midnight check-ins during kidding and the mornings so cold my eyelashes freeze. The soil too deep in the crevasses of my hands and the smell of compost always lingering in the air that surrounds me. I want this all for me, but I also want this for others. I want this food traveling short distances but long journeys into the bellies of my neighbors. I want this food reaching the cutting boards of mothers across town as they teach their children to cook. I want this food in the hands of the local school kids as they pull it from the soil. This I believe: that people should be fed.