Who me? A Farmgirl?
I guess it’s about time we talk about this again. Head on. About me calling myself a “Farmgirl.”
Well, I am. And you can be one too. Or “Farmguy” for that matter if you’re a guy. (I try to be gender-neutral, but for ease here, I’m mainly going to be referring to “Farmgirls.” Just know I’m including “Farmguys” too.)
MaryJane Butters founded this Movement some years ago. It is an important one. And it is one that can positively impact everyone.
This movement is all encompassing. There are no requirements for membership. There is no oath or creed. It does not discriminate against those who are farm-poor. Or farm-rich. It does not discriminate if you live in the city or in the country or anywhere in between. All are invited…
The term “Farmgirl” or “Farmdude” (hey, I like that…maybe even better than “Farmguy”) no longer has only a literal meaning: as in, a girl (or guy) from/on/with a farm. It’s taken on a meaning much deeper than that. More than anything, to me it’s a philosophy. A way of thinking about things.
But let’s start with the “farm” part of the word, which to me, sets the tone for how we think about things. “Farm” is a word and concept I adore. Do you get “warm fuzzies” when you think about “farm”? I do. Big time. What images come to your mind when you hear that word?
I think first about my father’s family farm; the one that I’ve loved so much my whole life. The one where I’ve spent so many holidays with aunts and uncles and cousins. I also think about my own little vacation farm, which I love madly.
I think about typical farm out-buildings. A chicken house. A red barn. A car house with an old green pick-up truck and a tractor inside. A well house. An outhouse, with a crescent moon cut-out.
I think about an old white farmhouse, drafty but cozy. A piano in the front room. A fire in the fireplace. A crackly radio. Laughter coming from the family and friends gathered at a large rectangle table.
I think about cows standing under the ancient locust tree in the pasture.
I think about a field of corn and green beans. A meadow of sunflowers.
A swing on the front porch. Drinking sweet tea from a jar.
That’s what I think about. Thinking about them makes me feel good. It makes me feel homey. It brings to my mind a time of simplicity. It makes me smile. I become more focused on land and family and home and the environment and food. I become less focused on stuff.
And that’s what’s key. The Farmgirl/Farmguy Movement is wide open to all. I realize I’m missing the mark in making that point when I get emails that focus on the Farmgirl thing being for those with farms or those who want farms. Yes, I’m lucky to have a hobby/vacation farm, but whether I do or not wouldn’t really matter. I could live happily in an apartment in Manhattan with no farm in my future and no desire for one and still be a part of this.
And so can you. Whoever you are; wherever you live. No matter your religious leanings or political affiliations. No matter your skill set. No matter your career choice. No matter your skin-tone. No matter anything.
If you’ve hung out at this website for any length of time, you realize that preconceived molds or notions don’t apply to this movement. Being a “Farmgirl” is not dependent on where you are or what you look like or what you have or don’t have. It’s what’s inside. It’s a state of mind, rather than a state of the place.
Oprah, yes…powerful, rich, fancy Oprah herself could be a Farmgirl. And I do hope one day she discovers us and joins us.
There was an article by Brain Hiatt on James Taylor in Rolling Stone a while back. When I read it, I thought, well, there you go; James could be a Farmgirl too. (I mean “Farmguy.”) He spoke of wanting to do more of his work at home to stay near his children. He spoke about a concern for the future with dwindling oil reserves. His focus, he said, was becoming more local.
And Michelle Obama with a Victory Garden. Farmgirl.
And Sheryl Crow telling us to think about how many squares of toilet paper we use. Farmgirl.
No matter who you are you can bring something to this movement and enrich it. You can also take something away from this movement and find yourself enriched.
“Being a Farmgirl is a condition of the heart,” says MaryJane.
So what is it about the condition of one’s heart that makes one a Farmgirl or Farmguy?
Here are my thoughts on it.
I say, Strength, Love, Kindness.
When I think of the Farmgirl/Farmguy Movement the first thing I think of is caring for each other. A lack of self-centeredness. A neighborly attitude that shows. A support for each other. Doing thoughtful things because you care about the other person. Carrying chicken soup to a sick friend. Stopping to speak to someone. Taking care of a hungry dog passing by.
I also think about strength and courage. Seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Even if it is out of your comfort zone. Maybe especially because it is out of your comfort zone.
Another is self-sufficiency. Being able to take care of yourself. Or learning to.
A love of the land and the earth, exhibited in a special kindness to the earth and its resources.
It might mean being more in tune with the seasons and weather. Appreciating and enjoying nature.
I also think that “family” is high on the priority list of a Farmgirl/Farmguy.
As I mentioned in my first article in the MaryJanesFarm magazine, when I discovered MaryJane Butters and this movement I knew right away that I was a Farmgirl. I then declared it to my husband. He looked at me and laughed out loud. So, believe me, I understand the confusion over the term and the movement. But, stick around…
Do you define yourself by something other than what you own? Do you like to look up at the stars? Do you care about someone other than yourself? Do you like to wiggle your toes in the grass? Do you want to get your kids out in nature? Do you have an herb plant in a pot on your terrace? Do you like to hold your grandbaby close to your heart? Do you “wear” your baby? Do you like to repurpose things? Do you read labels? Are you trying to ingest fewer chemicals from your food? Do you like fresh air? And fresh flowers? Do you carry a cloth bag to the market? Do you look for the good in others? Do you appreciate the sky? Do you have a garden? Do you like home-spun? Do you look for wildflowers? Do you seek wholeness? Do you strive to eat more organically? And more locally? Do you like old-fashioned things? Are you part of a community garden? Have you shopped or sold at a Farmer’s Market? Do you volunteer? Are you becoming more aware of the earth’s resources? Are you starting to “think” before you “do”? Do you dream and visualize a better world?
Well, any of those things might make you part of this Farmgirl Movement. Or not. I say again, there’s no creed here. You get to forge your own path, to take from this what you care to, what helps you along.
MaryJane’s writings, the Farmgirl Sisterhood, the Farmgirl Connection Forum, and these blogs are all here to, hopefully, support and inspire you.
Alrighty then. That’s my take on it. Now tell us what this movement has meant and means to you.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah