My job ended during the pandemic, so I left New York and moved to a farm in Maine — and it’s changed how I think about work and food

BI farm lead image

Michaela Schwartz is a writer/producer living in New York. Originally from Boston, she graduated from Barnard College with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Gender Studies.
When her television job ended in April, she saw no return to normalcy in sight for entertainment — so she decided to pursue her fantasy of going to work on a farm.
In July she made this dream a reality: she left New York after getting tested for COVID, got tested again at home in Boston, and then set off for a farm in Maine.
She works 36 hours a week on farm tasks, and has learned the realities of the labor that go into the food supply chain — as well as the inequities within farming.
She’s not sure what her next move is, but she will be thinking more intentionally about her labor as she considers working post-farm.
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All through this winter, pre-pandemic, I had been fantasizing about going to work on a farm or in a small cafe in New England. I could see it all: I would spend my days bottle feeding baby goats, sitting around campfires, and drinking homemade lemonade in a field of wildflowers. I was itching to do a different kind of work than I was used to and take a break from the desk jobs I had been working since college graduation.

When my TV production/development job ended in April, there was no return to normalcy in sight for the entertainment industry. I sat in my NYC apartment from March through the end of June, reading and cooking and calling my representatives.

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Finally, on March 26, I signed up for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), an organization that facilitates homestays and work exchanges on farms across the globe.

I paid the $40/year membership fee to access their network, and contacted a few farms throughout the US.

Eventually, I narrowed down my options to two potential hosts, one in Washington State and the other in mid-coast Maine. I decided it was not feasible for me (for many reasons, both COVID and non-COVID related) to plan a cross country flight right now, so I confirmed my stay at the farm in Maine.

Also joining the adventure was my roommate, who deferred the start of nursing school for a year because of the pandemic. We found subletters for our rooms through connections and Facebook groups, and then began to pack and prepare to travel across state lines.

After two hours in line at CityMD, we both got free COVID tests before we left NYC, and then departed to spend some time with our families.

We both got tested again in our respective hometowns before traveling to Maine. My test in Boston was at an urgent care facility with a five hour wait and cost $160; they wouldn’t accept insurance at all because I was …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life


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