Farming isn’t all fruits and vegetables. It’s also chipped nail polish and unwanted dreadlocks. Tucked away on an organic farm in Kapa’au, is author Meagan DaSilva-Couto. Her debut publication shares the challenges of female farmers in the 21st Century. Her book made me feel related to as she encourages farm women to embrace their feminine side while digging their hands in the dirt and connecting with nature. Thursday afternoon, Meagan and I sat under a Macadamia Nut Tree at a teal blue picnic table where she shared with me her insperation for The Modern Farm Girl.
Meagan was raised in a rural town of Massachusetts in a clean and pristine family. At the ripe age of 16, she found herself working in office jobs. She climbed the business ladder of supervisor, manager, and even found herself on the board of directors for a domestic violence council. The business world came with a slew of expectations for her appearance. Heals, pearls, and pantsuits were a must, especially if she wanted to be succsesful. But, these weren’t the things she was passionate about. She recalled to me, “I was wearing all the right things, and saying all the right things, and doing all the right things in all the right ways. And I was not happy”. Her heart was passionate about hiking and health. On her quest for her happy place, she was working at a nature preserve where she met Heath. They fell in love while replacing lawns with drought resistant plants in California, Heaths home. Meag shares how as she fell in love with him she also begun to fall in love with the dirt. She traded her pearls for turquoise and her heals for boots. In May 2015, they were offered a position with HIP Agriculture as farm managers for one year. They’ve now been here a year and a half.
While on this particular farm, Meagan wrote The Modern Farm Girl. “I woke up one morning like a hot mess”, she told me. She then looked down at her chipped sparkly black polished on her turmeric orange stained nail and smiled. She had to reach a place where she’s okay with her feminine side AND her desire to nurture nature. She openly goofs about her farts and rubber boots in hopes that she relates to modern farm girls all over.”..we’re young women escaping and breaking the American Dream of being a homemaker and now we are independent and clueless and forming together.” Her message to women and not just those addressed in her book is to join together and stop the judgment. “No more judgement….now we are independent and clueless and forming together”. During her time on the farm, Meagan has noticed that most young farmers are women. “I’ve said it once before, Mother Nature is calling on her daughters to save the planet.” Although it’s everyone’s job, it’s hard to miss the surge in women stepping up. Our farm as an example, 23 people live on and work the land. A young couple owns the farm and they have three kids. There are, 12 interns, and six staff. 15 of us are hard working women and 8 are strong men.
By December, Meagan and Heath will be on to greener pastures (couldn’t pass up the joke). They have no plan, maybe the North West or maybe Massachusetts. The only thing that is certain is their dedication to the food movement and activism. Future projects for Meagan include a book on bullying called No Fear, Franky and a coloring book called Earth Nerds about the soil cycle. To keep up with Meagan and Heath in the meantime, you can follow her blog at amodernfarmgirl.wixsite.com. Her book can be found at the Hawi farmers market. But, if you can’t fly your way over to the Big Island you can also find her book, The Modern Farm Girl, on her blog.
I’d like to thank her for her feeling of community through her writing. For her kind words in the garden and fearlessness in pursuing the best version of herself.