The Youth Farmers and their friends and family waiting in line for a delicious meal.
The floor was swept at least three times, just that I saw. After you sweep in the barn, there’s always someone who will come along and do it again, just because it’s the nature of the grey concrete floor to accumulate dirt in such a way that it never looks clean. However, it was cleaner on that night than I’d ever seen it before. It made it hard to believe that we’d been making messes at various cooking stations all day, as if trying to dirty the barn as much as possible before we spiffed it up. As someone used to seeing the barn in its everyday state, I was more than impressed with the freshened facility that would greet our families and friends that night.
When I arrived at the dinner, it was shocking to see people wearing something other than grungy farm clothes. Was that my co-crew leader in a skirt and sandals instead of a holey t-shirt and old sneakers caked with dirt? Their makeovers were just as good as the one the barn itself received. In addition to the fancy clothes, everyone wore an expression of well-deserved pride. As our older and clumsier parents fought their way up the hill to the fields, we became the leaders. It was us who knew where the bathroom was, which plants were planted where, and all the ins and outs of the irrigation system. I felt automatically more important as I introduced myself to the group, because it was through this simple action that I took my place among those who worked there every day, trekking up the hill to the farthest field and toiling under the hot sun for hours. Every adult there knew someone who worked on the farm too, so there was no way they hadn’t heard about the outrageous heat or the blistering intensity of the sun. But we farmers were united as the ones who had braved the weather to accomplish something.
Not only could our parents see it in the beauty of the farm, but they would also taste our success that night. The tart sweetness of the currant crisp perfectly balanced the light pesto, and complimented the kale salad and expertly cooked collards. Meanwhile, the slide show displayed the dynamic of the farm so well! Our jokey shots gave our guests a taste of the lighthearted nature of our community while the pictures of us among the rows proved that we’d done a lot of hard work all summer. Hard work bonds people like nothing else, and the hours in the field that sometimes felt interminable had culminated in this one event from which we could all see that we’d become valuable, contributing members of a community that had just gotten a little closer.