The peaceful farm I stayed on in northern Illinois

farm in northern illinois
© Ilana Strauss

A while ago, I decided to try out working on a farm. So I signed up for WWOOF, an organization linking volunteers with small farms, and rode a train to a farm in northern Illinois. I took this photo while I was out there, thought you guys might like it.

Guys, farming was hard. So hard. It looks gentle, but when you've been on your knees digging potatoes out of the ground for a few hours, you see why humans had an Industrial Revolution (and why so many hunter-gatherers avoided agriculture as long as possible, but that's another story). I've worked small vegetable gardens before, but this was on a whole new level. When I woke up the next day, I was too sore to bend over.

"I was thinking you'd pick beans today," the farmer told me as I came down the stairs.

Not wanting to admit my urban wimpiness, I picked beans all day.

"Why are you doing this to me?" my body asked me.

"Shame," I told it.

Part of me didn't realize how much work humans still do on farms. I knew intellectually that workers spend tons of time picking fruits and veggies, but in my mind, I just imagined tractors and other machinery. I'll never look at a potato the same way again.

The peaceful farm I stayed on in northern Illinois
I picked a lot of squash.

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