Stories from the Field: A Night of Live Storytelling at Mount Hope Farm

By Alex Braunstein | April 27, 2016
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This post is from the Rhode Island Food Policy Council blog. We're publishing it here for our readers! There is a full audio recording from the event at the end of the post.

We were thrilled by the success of our first ever storytelling event, Stories from the Field, where a diverse group of farmers volunteered to share their tales from their life’s work. The evening was the result of a fruitful collaboration among RIFPC, Young Farmer Network, and Mount Hope Farm. This event was based on the vision of Tess Brown-Lavoie who, in addition to co-running Sidewalk Ends Farm, wears many hats, including roles with RIFPC and Young Farmer Network (YFN). She, in line with the work that YFN does bringing farmers together to share stories and experience, as well as transfer knowledge, envisioned an evening where farmers diverse in age and background could speak about their own experiences. Added bonus, getting to share these stories with folks outside of the farming world.

We brought together a wide range of community members, from students to fellow farmers. All came together around a shared interest of wanting to know more about the folks who produce food, and thus make it possible for us to break bread over common ground. Before and after the program, we had the pleasure of getting to hear the music stylings of Seamus Galligan, an extremely talented artist based here in Rhode Island.

The themes of the event were around how these farmers found themselves in their chosen life work, and moments where they looked around themselves and asked “How did I get here?!”

Jennifer Bristol, Executive Director of Mt Hope Farm, was an excellent MC for the evening, and we had an equally fantastic group of storytellers on hand. While opening up the event, Jennifer shared her own “how did I get here” story, from when she first started at Mount Hope Farm and found herself nursing a sheep back to health.

We heard from Laura Brown-Lavoie (Sidewalk Ends Farm) who signed up to work and live on a farm in France while in college, and learned the world of farming was full of fun surprises (lesson learned: don’t wear your nice pants on the farm).

Mike Dee spoke of the freedom of shellfishing — shellfishing not to be confused with fin fishing!

Kohei Ishihara (Freedom Food Farm) shared the story of his first year of farming and his Imu mistake.

Don Minto (Watson Farm) regaled us with tales that shared a common theme: cows getting out and showing up where they shouldn’t. Let’s just say they have a real affinity for the Jamestown Bridge.

We were extremely grateful to have had the entire evening recorded by Alex Braunstein of One Little Did, and are thrilled to be able to share this with you. If you were there and want to listen again, or missed out but would love to hear the stories for yourself, you can do so here:

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