Kate Schumacher harvests the turnip patch.
Kate Schumacher has lived her whole life in the South, and as she tells it, “rural spaces have been a part of my entire existence.” A college education and a few months into graduate school put her into a panic when she finally figured out that she wasn’t living a meaningful existence. Career testings consistently pointed her to fields of study that had the word “agriculture” in them and on a whim and at the latest possible minute, she signed up for a master gardening class.
That changed everything.
“I don’t want to say that farming is ‘simple work.’ It is hard work. It is work that comes from the earth. You eat a meal three times a day. To be part of something like that, you need to take full ownership of your food. To me, that is meaningful.”
Kate with Grandma
Kate points to her heritage. Her 86 year old grandmother no longer lives on the family farm where she was raised, but according to Kate, “she still has that ‘farming mentality’ where you do everything yourself, you work hard, and you don’t lean on other people for help. I remember sitting on the front porch picking the ends off of green beans, peeling fresh apples to make apple turnovers, digging up turnips, harvesting fresh squash, and making tomato sandwiches with freshly picked tomatoes. As a kid I connected fresh, local food with people I loved and respected.”
“Farming is appealing because of the attitudes and behaviors which I associate with – patience, kindness, humility in the face of nature’s power, and empowerment by adapting to nature’s challenges. I am fully aware of my youth and how much MUCH more I have to learn as I create and grow into the farming lifestyle I imagine for myself.”
Kate currently farms for Harmony Ridge Farms in Tobaccoville, N.C.