Farming & Writing: The Harvesting Words Scholarship

Harvesting Words: A writing workshop for farmers and gardeners

2020.  Remember back in March when everyone on the internet was like, “learn a new language!  Take up painting!  Write a book!”  

I don’t know about you, but all of my energy went into simply managing the deluge of figuring out the logistics of farming in a pandemic, figuring out how to parent in a pandemic, figuring out how to navigate the sometimes daily emotional breakdowns of living in a pandemic.

As the year comes to a close, there’s the pull to open up again.  

Winter has a way of creating a blank slate: the snowy landscape a metaphor for the possibility of an empty page.

In many ways, the pandemic halted my creativity.  I was caught in reaction mode, feeling too heavy to process it all in the moment.  In other ways, it was my journal that got me through this year. 

Writing is a deep breath.  

A way to unwind the stress, dive into the questions, relax the fear.  Here in the quiet of winter, writing offers a pause to reflect and craft a new story into being.  

With a new season and a new year comes a new session of Harvesting Words: a writing workshop for farmers & gardeners.

If you’ve ever felt your mind wander as you thinned carrots or pruned tomatoes,  turning words over in your head as ideas popped up for an essay or blog post — or maybe even a book — Harvesting Words is for you.

If  you’ve felt the pull to add a blog to your farm website so you can better connect with customers, but you’re not sure if you’re a “good enough” writer to do it, or if you’ll be able to find the time, Harvesting Words is for you.

Farming and writing aren’t so different from each other.

Plant one seed, write one word at a time.  Tend to the soil, tend to your creativity. Grow nourishment for the body and the soul.

Whether you want to blog, write poems, essays, or simply write a story for your loved ones — Harvesting Words, a writing course for farmers and gardeners, can help you grow it.

Enrollment for  Harvesting Words is open from Monday, December 21st through December 28th.

I believe that creativity is just as essential as food.  I also believe everyone deserves access to fresh, local food, and access to education. 

That’s why I’m offering scholarships to Harvesting Words.  

After graduating with a degree in English and Environmental Studies in 2009, over the last 11 years I’ve continued to invest in courses on both writing and farming.  

I’ve paid full price for some, but have received scholarships for others, and I know the feeling of possibility, relief and excitement that comes with it.  I also know the depth of growth that comes when you dig in and continue learning.  

Now you have the chance to  grow your writing skills with a scholarship.

The Harvesting Words Scholarship

What it is: complimentary access to the Harvesting Words online writing course.

How to be considered: Write your answers to the questions below in a comment on this blog post.  Answers must be 250 words or less.  No email entries will be considered.

The deadline to apply is Monday, December 21st by 6:00 pm eastern.  The scholarship recipient(s) will be announced by Wednesday, December 23.

Scholarship application questions:

  1. What are your writing goals?
  2. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?
  3. Are you a farmer or a gardener?  If so, how long have you been growing, and how would you incorporate writing into your farm/garden?  

I’m looking forward to reading your entry!  Remember, the deadline to apply is Monday, December 21st at 6:00 pm eastern.  

The next live round of Harvesting Words begins on January 2nd. 

Bonus: Share this post and the photo below on Instagram with the hashtag #harvestingwords and tag me @goodheartfarmstead. 

Image: Typewriter and journal. Text: Harvesting Words, a writing workshop for farmers & gardeners

Scholarship Recipients:

Thank you to everyone who applied for a scholarship! Taking action and putting your words down here means you are a writer — you’ve taken the ideas from your head and put them to paper. And that matters. It may not have been easy, but you did it! And that means that word by word, you can do it again.

No matter what I want you to know this: your words matter.

You have the ability to cultivate creativity. You have something beautiful and unique to offer the world through your words. Keep writing.

Full Scholarship Recipients:

Scarlett, a dairy farmer who works to build community through farm-based education, and who wants to cultivate her writing to weave together stories and education on chronic illness, community, and the experience of being a Black female farmer in the midwest.

Sara, a market gardener who’s goal is to make farming more accessible to differently-abled people, and who wants to use writing as a way to increase awareness, educate, and create connection.

11 thoughts on “Farming & Writing: The Harvesting Words Scholarship”

  1. 1. I wish to fulfill my untapped potential as a creative writer. I have always written poetry in some form be it Haiku or something else. It is my goal to open that door I have kept closed for years and see what’s on the other side.
    2. My biggest challenge is finding the time I need to nurture myself and my writing. I work as an IT Administrator for a computer management service provider. My days are long and mentally exhausting and I don’t have the focus I need for myself after a long week.
    3. I am a gardener. My love is medicinal herbs. I have been growing and preparing these plants for healing since 2002. My first true learning experience with the plants came from Pam Montgomery and her Herbal Apprenticeship program in Danby. I went on to study with Annie Mc Cleary and planned on study with Annie again before her passing. Which led me to you Kate. You were the opening for me to link my love of herbal gardening with my love of writing. You inspire me to grow what’s in my heart and mind and make something beautiful to share. I never knew how interrelated this could be. I have books full of the notes I took listening to Pam and Annie for hours and often look back at their value. Now that wisdom can unfold in me and my words as I pay it forward.

  2. Heather Richardson

    1) I have multiple goals that all tie together. I wish to have a blog that is engaging yet educational. I want to help my current, and future, customers have a sense of belonging to our farm. I want them to feel as if they are part of our family and part of the locally grown food movement.

    2) My biggest challenge is getting my thoughts/ideas out in a way that is both pleasant to read and captivating.

    3) I’m a farmer. We’ve been farming going on 4 yrs and just moved to our new farm last December.

    1. Heather Richardson

      Sorry I forgot to add the last part of the 3rd question but I guess it mirrors the answer in #1. I want to give those who may be beginning their journey in gardening/farming with insight/hope. Those who are in the city but grew up on a farm a place to come read and reminisce about the days when they were a kid. To help engage those who want to know where their food is coming fro and how it’s raised

  3. 1.) To ring in 2020, I made a list of intentions and I added, “Publish My Book,” to it. As we approach the end of this year with my goal unsatisfied, I resolve to make my goat-themed children’s book a reality in 2021. Another goal is to write a seasonal newsletter for our customers about farm happenings.
    2.) My biggest challenge when it comes to writing is finding the self discipline to do so while parenting a toddler and a teen. Even my farm’s blog has been absent of posts since our son was born nearly three years ago!
    3.) I am a farmer (Alpine goats, pastured poultry and pork), and I grow a substantial vegetable garden for our family. We have been actively farming since 2004 on land that my husband’s family raised replacement dairy heifers on for a century before. I would like to incorporate writing into my farm in the form of a seasonal newsletter to our customers. I want to incorporate our farm into writing by producing a children’s book highlighting some of our goat herd and their funny antics. At the start of the pandemic we offered virtual Story Time with Goats and read books with goatie characters. I dream of turning this into an in-person encounter on our farm when safe to do so. How amazing it would it be to share my writing with families who visit our farm?!

  4. 1) I would like to create a new writing habit, wherein I enjoy writing again. I would like to use writing to collect my thoughts about farming to help myself and others in my community discuss our connections to the natural world around us and to our wild and cultivated food.

    2) Since I became a mother four years ago I have struggled to create the space I need to focus on my writing. Besides that, I find it challenging to express myself with the confidence that my true sentiments are translated from my mind to the page.

    3) I am a market gardener growing mixed vegetables and herbs. I have been running my farm since 2013, and clearing the land for the gardens since 2009. I now grow on a half an acre of gardens for a 32 member CSA, a weekly farmers’ market and other retail and wholesale outlets in the community..

    I would like to incorporate more written communications into my CSA newsletters. This year I also had a farm website created with an integrated blog. I would love for the blog to be the receptacle of my garden musings–about what it means for me to be a farmer, a mother, a cook, and a naturalist. I also created a ‘local ingredients recipes’ feature on the farm website where I would like to create written content (recipes, food preservation and gardening tips etc.) about our local wild and cultivated foods in Southeast Alaska for all to access for free.

  5. 1. I hope to tell the story of our farm in a way that is captivating for our community and customers. I want them to be a part of our story. A story that began generations ago when my ancestors moved to our farm and continues with us growing here today.
    2. My biggest challenges lie in prioritizing the time for consistent storytelling and finding confidence in my writing. I struggle with knowing how to share my thoughts in a cohesive way.
    3. I am a farmer. We raise pastured livestock and maple syrup on our family farm in Berlin. While we have been ‘homesteading’ for several years, I consider this past year our first as farmers. Marketing is a big farm goal for 2021 and I hope to incorporate my writing through our website, email marketing and newsletters and possibly a farm blog.

  6. 1. My writing goals are vast. The biggest desires I have initially include getting in a consistent blogging routine on our farm website, to write various genre children’s books, to share more about farming to improve life with chronic illness, and to create some type of memoir of growing up biracial in the midwest.
    2. My biggest block with writing is getting started and narrowing down ideas. Determining how to combine educational information along with storytelling is another aspect I’d like to work on.
    3. I’m a dairy farmer that does dairy a little different. I’ve been farming here for ten years and grew up on livestock farms. There are many aspects of farmlife I’d like to share with our farm peeps from education on why and how we do things to sharing the experience of being a black female farmer in the midwest, sharing tangible ways to build community care to creating a learning space for littles. The ideas I have are endless, focus and a solid plan are lacking.

  7. 1. What are your writing goals?
    One thing on my bucket list is “Writing a Book”. Last January I started to interview my dear mother in law to tell me the story of her life, and I have the goal to make a book out of her stories. She now is 83 years old. She experienced WWII, the separation of Germany, became a nurse, raised her children in the socialist dictatorship in Eastern Germany, then her life changed through the peaceful revolution and German reunification. I want to write down all that to document and commemorate that part of my family history and all the wonders our lives filled with.
    2. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?
    My biggest challenge is to find time for writing in my daily life, though there would be enough time for, but often there are too many distractions and a lack of inspiration…
    3. Are you a farmer or a gardener? If so, how long have you been growing, and how would you incorporate writing into your farm/garden?
    I´m not a farmer but a pot gardener and lover of plants, woods and herbs. As a teacher and health care professional I try to seed knowledge and an attitude of respect for human beings of every kind in young people´s lives on their way to become experts in all things care and health.

  8. 1. My goal in writing is to take all of the many running thoughts, ideas, and excitement and turn them into a story that highlights the passion in my work. I have always found it difficult to write about myself. But in the world of technology and social media, I have found that it is the new word of mouth. I have found that it is important to tell my story about why I farm, why I educate and why I have the holistic visions I do. I hope to convey my work in a way that excites people to care for the earth, soil, food, and education the way I do.
    2. My biggest challenge to writing is organization. I have so much I want to say but often find it difficult to know where to start and how to take my jumbled thoughts and make them enticing. I also stink at grammar!!! Can you tell?! If not, thank you grammely. : ) I would like to be more skilled at writing with ease, flow, and to be grammatically correct.
    3. I am a farmer and educator. I have been farming for 20 years and a farm-based educator for almost 10 years. Thanks to your encouragement Kate, I am trying really hard to write and share monthly newsletters for both my farm and my educational programs. My goal is to share my passion with the families that I work with and feed so that they too know what goes into planting a seed both human and food and working to help it mature into a healthy plant. I plan to also create and share more “how-to” documents to share with educators and inspired farm-based educators. I believe that your workshop will give me the skills to take my writing to the next level. I really appreciate you offering a scholarship and thank you for considering me as a possible recipient.

  9. My goal is to reconnect with my creativity and my love of crafting words into meaningful prose.

    My biggest writing challenge is finding subject matter and writing cohesively in the short amount of time I allow myself.

    I grow at a 5 acre community farm. I’m heading into my sixth year of vegetable farming and my 39th year of human growth. I write the newsletter from June through October and often rush to get it out each week. All of the other work feels much more pressing. Taking the time I’d like to feels like a luxury I can’t afford. I would like to write with more intention and to craft the newsletters instead of rushing through them.

    I will bring the knowledge and experience I gain here into those newsletters to create a space to share my thoughts with the community. This will engage them more fully, giving them a stronger connection to their food, the farm and the farmers.

  10. 1. My writing goals include starting a blog for my market garden replete with a regular newsletter as well as gaining the confidence to submit articles for publication.
    2. My biggest challenge remains myself. I come up with ideas and write pages in my mind as I work in my garden, but I never seem to make the time to sit down and actually DO the writing. Or, if I do sit down, nothing comes out and I feel so disappointed with myself.
    3. I am a gardener transitioning into a farmer. I started with my first little pot of basil and rosemary on the windowsill of my dorm room six years ago, and have now grown into roughly 5000sqft of garden space. I harbor so many dreams about what I want to do. My long term goal is to cultivate a space accessible to differently-abled individuals where I can teach them how to grow and run their own farming business. Many steps exist between now and then, but I believe writing will help me get there. Writing to garner awareness about abysmally low employment rates for differently-abled people. Writing to show the power nature has on helping all sorts of ailments in the mind and body. Writing to show how important wholesome food and connection with people and land is on our wellbeing as humans. I hold so many dreams and desires, yet I seem stuck right at the edge of beginning.
    Thank you for your consideration!

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