Lyvia Dequincey wrote:
Yet even if I grew enough to share and sell, I could not imagine leaving the intellectual challenge of my job. Maybe because it wasn't so long ago that women were not considered suitable for many types of work, or because I worked many decades to get to my salary level, and people still respect/judge me accordingly. Maybe because I don't want to go to a party and say "What do I do? I garden a lot."
Just as you are passionate for whatever reason about the intellectual challenge of your job (though from the sounds of it and to get down to reality, you can't imagine life without a cushy salary), a market gardener is passionate about his job which requires a deep understanding of all the physical and biological sciences, direct and whole sales marketing, labor management, various forms of construction, and is subject to a big unknowing force called "nature." Oh, and you're working in a field where you buy everything retail, people are completely uneducated on your product, people are extremely demanding of your product (they want things that are sweet, uniform, unmarked, cheap, organic, oh and they want them early too), and you have razor thin margins. I can't think of a job that is more intellectual stimulating that I can talk about more than gardening really, Louis Bromfield has a few great writings about how it truly is a business that is more complex than nearly any other. Sorry but your comments really really bothered me because it is so typical of the comments i constantly hear from people probably less educated on the subject than you, and I know you already said you were "sorry for the comments" but I know in your heart that that's truly how you/they feel about it, even after I make them feel stupid for thinking of farming as something for simpletons and they without fail apologize.
But on the subject of this article, I would consider myself someone who "quit the rat race" but I did it a long time ago when I dropped out of graduate school to play poker for a living. Watching enough alan watt's videos, growing up in a family that always pushed either working hard at something you love doing (and not something you love because you are paid well, something you truly would do for subsistence income. I hear so often people that 'love their jobs' then say they wouldn't do it if i ask if they would do it for $8 an hour) or not working at all, and realizing i had an "out" of the system through poker really was amazing for me. So I did that for a few years, but found my life balance out of wack and truly wanted to do work I was proud of, and I think I've found that with market gardening. Its such rewarding work for the body and soul, connects me so much to my ancestors and the life that surrounds us all, and being outside 90% of my waking life instead of 90% being spent inside like the rest of the world is just great. I also get to eat the best food in the world.
I've found that nearly anyone with a brain quickly realizes how bullshit the corporate world is and would either 1. like to opt out of the system or 2. does opt out of it. There are so many number 1's in the world that just can't see an alternative, and the smart people in the world who aren't number 1's have wool pulled over their eyes by their piles of cash they are accumulating. Its good to see smart people are starting to see a way out, though its always unfortunate that nearly everyone I meet has little startup capital and little knowledge of how to obtain startup capital, and so they are at such a huge disadvantage from the start to actually try to make 35-40k a year doing this. It is possible though, and it is challenging, and many times I wonder why i don't go back to poker and print money, but I am sure I can succeed at this since others out there have.