Meet Rebecca Harrison, Awesome Young Farmer!
When did you realize that you wanted to jump into agriculture?
I was in high school when the lightbulb went off in my head. I always was involved with and passionate about feeding the homeless here in San Antonio and hunger issues in general, but I knew there had to be a way to help more than just providing meals. I was doing some research on The Peace Corps and saw that one way to serve was through agriculture and that is what set me on this path. There’s that proverb that says “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” The rest was history!
What does farming/ agriculture have to offer millennials?
An escape from the digital matrix that we live in. Millennials are one of the first generations to have so much easy access to technology. The world is literally at our fingertips! Technology can be a great thing, but I’ve seen first hand in myself and others the damage it can cause. It’s fun getting Instagram likes and twitter followers and always having a newsfeed or photofeed to distract yourself with, but too much of it can be unhealthy. Being outside working with plants and playing in the soil has connected me back to Mother Earth and made me more aware of my place in the world and the impact I have on it. I feel more centered and grounded when I’ve been on the farm. I think millennials would be surprised to find how much they enjoy agriculture and working with plants if they gave it a shot. The physical and mental benefits are tremendous.
What is your favorite crop to grow and why?
At Happy Earth Garden we grow our own transplants or we direct seed our crops. There’s great things about both methods but there’s something I find so special about putting the seed in the ground by hand and seeing the seeds germinate and grow into full grown veggies! It’s SO rewarding. My favorite is probably carrots… they have these fun soft leaves and they’re fun to harvest too. You never know how big of a carrot you’re going to pull up and sometimes it’s a fight!
How do we share CSAs with the local community?
This is where technology and social media play such an important and positive role! Facebook and Instagram are great ways to spread the word and reach younger generations that might not have previously had an interest in CSAs and local agriculture. I’ve also found that word of mouth works just as well. When people hear me talk about the CSA and how much I love working on the farm and how passionate I am about it, I think they respond really well. One of my favorite authors wrote in one of his books that sometimes you need to see somebody love something before you can love it yourself. I find that to be very true. Passion is contagious.
What sets small agriculture apart from supermarket brands? What are your goals?
The most important and obvious way is that people get to know their farmer(s) when utilizing small, local farms versus purchasing all of their items from a supermarket. Who knows where your money is going at the store! When people choose to participate in a CSA, their money goes directly back into the farm. Another great thing is that it tends to be more open… you can come see the farm anytime and see what we are doing and rest assured that your farmers are happy doing what they do. You can’t say that about a lot of places that are larger and meant to produce mass amounts of fruit and veggies. Our long term goals, at least for me, would be to keep growing and getting better at what we do. We’d love to reach more people for the sake of spreading the word about the importance of local agriculture and local business in general. Because we are completely organic, another long term goal would be to continue finding ways to work in harmony with the earth to get higher yields, reduce pest populations, and care for our soil. Right now we are well on our way to reaching those goals, as we are learning new things every day. I am constantly impressed with Chip’s ability to think up new ways to plant things and care for our land and our crops. The gears are always turning in his head which inspires me to get creative. He’s been a fantastic teacher!”