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A modern farmer on the work that keeps her grounded.

Over a century ago, Americans began a mass migration from rural farms into cities. It’s a trend that baffles Rand Rasheed. On a whim, the urbanite abandoned Seattle’s bright lights for a farm apprenticeship just south of the city. The land she tended became available for rent a few years later, and One Leaf Farm was born. Here, in partnership with BlundstoneBlundstone, the organic venture’s co-founder and manager chronicles a day in the life of a modern farmer.

What do you look forward to on your truck-ride into work each day?

I look forward to seeing everybody. I was especially lucky this past season and had the most amazing crew. I zone in on running the farm, but they pointed out things like the morning dew. I just think, “That’s really nice. I forgot to appreciate that.”

How does a typical day unfold?

Things slow down with winter, but the farm asks a lot of us. It’s a non-stop gig. During harvest season, we harvest at the beginning of each day. The weather is cool and the vegetables haven’t wilted. We break for lunch, and extra crops find their way down to the table. There’s always a big pile of radishes and greens. The rest of the day is dedicated to whatever else needs to be done—tractor work, weeding.

Your day involves significantly more weeding than most farms. Why is that?

We grow organically because it’s better for the environment, and we don’t want to offer customers a plate full of chemicals. Herbicides are one of the worst things you could spray on soil or have in your water. Unfortunately, they also make farming so much easier. Conventional farmers always comment on how frequently we’re out there weeding! But we also use preventative tactics to avoid chemicals, like growing a big mix of crops to offer insurance against pests, who are often fond of one particular crop. And then there are exclusionary tactics. We drape what looks like a bed sheet over the crops to prevent bugs from destroying to them.

  • Words:
    MacKenzie Lewis Kassab
  • Photography:
    Jenny Riffle

“I love to drive the tractor in as the sun is setting and flocks of swallows fill the sky.”

How do you catch your breath at the end of the day?

I find any excuse to walk the field. And during long summer days, when the staff has gone home and I have the farm to myself, I love to drive the tractor in as the sun is setting and flocks of swallows fill the sky.

What are the essential tools of the trade?

Coffee. I can’t speak a full sentence if I don’t have my morning coffee. Also, good protective gear and work gear. Being able to get my job done while feeling comfortable is important.

Speaking of work gear, why do you choose to wear Blundstone boots?

I chose them because they look cool, comfortable and like they worked with my lifestyle. They’re awesome. They ventilate really well, so they’re great all year round. I put them on in the morning when I get to work and, because they’re stylish, I’ll just hose them off if I’m going out to dinner. People stop to ask me about my boots all the time.

What do you value as a consumer?

Hand-craftsmanship, usability and accessibility. I want to produce food that still tastes fresh after a week in the fridge. I want it to be something everyone can get their hands on and enjoy. Similarly, Blundstone has a shoe for everybody, with unisex sizing and lasting quality—I had my first pair for five years and just retired them.

What do you hope the farm looks when you’ve retired your next pair of boots?

Every summer, when this work gets really hard, I just think about why I do this. I love that we produce something real, something tangible, that feeds people. It makes it worthwhile. Five years from now, I’d love to see One Leaf Farm become a part of something bigger, or something that provides a lot of different things for different people. I really like to idea of a more cooperatively run enterprise. It could be run by a group of people who share a passion and grow more accomplished together.

This post is produced in partnership with Blundstone.

  • Words:
    MacKenzie Lewis Kassab
  • Photography:
    Jenny Riffle
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