From the Editor: Farm Fresh
The tomato plants were like towering redwoods. The zucchinis were as long as a newborn baby. And I was practically green with envy.
My social media scroll is generally a healthy mix of humblebrags and selfies, with a dash of celebrity scandal, so when my cousin posted photos of her thriving raised-bed vegetable garden a couple of summers ago, it was a surprising break from the norm. Yet just like the awe-inspiring posts from friends’ vacations, these images of a quarantine-era home harvest were equal parts sensational and motivational. I could do that, I thought. Couldn’t I? If only my yard got a little more sun, or if only Instacart delivered dirt. In just a few months, I’d be grilling kebabs and biting into BLTs made with my own hand-picked produce.
Minutes later, I had moved on, swept away by the next person’s video of brushing their dog’s teeth. Or perhaps it was an ad for shoes made from recycled water bottles. My fantasies of suburban farming were short-lived indeed.
Meanwhile, across town, assistant editor Riley Bourgeois was dreaming of chickens. Fluffy French ones, and a charming chicken coop to boot. She was deep into discussions with a local flock consultant—yes, that is a thing—when the whole plan got pushed to the side by the small matter of an infant in the house. Turns out that caring for a tiny human, plus some high-energy dogs and a fish or two, was more than enough for her to handle. “Maybe one day,” she told me, “but today isn’t that day, unfortunately.”
Though our real lives may not currently involve bushels of veggies or baskets of eggs, it’s easy enough for people like Riley and me to continue to cultivate our agricultural dreams, thanks to a growing number of online “farm-fluencers.” A Wall Street Journal article last year called it a “social media subculture devoted to portraying a bucolic vision of farm life,” but what I think these gregarious types are most interested in is sharing the joys of a lifestyle that has become less and less common.
A few south Louisiana women are getting into the act, but with a greater intention than just showing off their sun-soaked pastures and blue-eyed goats. They’re equally invested in helping others who want to actually stop the scroll and start experiencing this life firsthand. Want to know how to propagate plants or build a nest box? Their sites will walk you through the process, step by step.
But if you do read through all the steps for constructing a chicken coop and decide it’s not for you, I won’t judge. I’ll be too busy watching a viral video about how to make a tortilla wrap. See you in the produce section!