If Everyone Farmed
by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer's Daughter, September 5, 2018
This weekend was spent planting the new fields. My mom, dad, brother, and their workers usually do all the planting themselves. A few weeks ago, my mom called to ask if I wanted to plant. Since I really had nothing planned, I decided to join in.
When you work indoors in an air conditioned setting, going outside is rough. That weekend was in the upper 80’s with a high humidity. I got my 3 kids lathered in sunscreen and packed a lunch. I haven’t planted a field since I was a teenager.
When we got down to the field, it was already hot. We went straight to work planting the seedlings. My brother had already plotted out the whole field so our job was getting some Osmocote slow release fertilizer in the holes and putting the plants in. When this was said and done, we did some 300 plantings.
I felt pretty good after that and was surprised I wasn’t achy. For each planting, it meant squatting down to the ground and staying in that position to cover the seedling. It really equates to hundreds of deep squats. I felt so young again!
Well, the next morning was a different story all together. After a deep sleep, I tried to get up from my low futon bed and got stuck. My quads were screaming at me, “Noooo!” I was so achy but with a good boost with my arms, I got up and walked it out. I felt fine once I warmed up.
This past Saturday, it was planting time again after a delay was caused by Hurricane Lane the previous week. We had twice as many folks and an acre to plant. Up and down, squatting multiple times was the routine again. We finished the field and even got the drip lane installed too. One of the workers, Chansen, said, “Good we had more people. Went real fast today.”
Saturday took 6 hours of work to complete the field with 12 people working. We got about 600 plants in the fields thanks to everyone’s effort, including two of my friends who wanted to get dirty. The humidity was better and we had a breeze that helped. I felt so good working out in the field.
Well, the very next morning was spent getting up and going to the Okinawan Festival. I was feeling pretty good until midmorning when my legs started to ache from all the squatting. I had to rest and shake out the stiffness before working in the soba booth for 4 hours.
All I can say is that I’m wiped out from this weekend. It was constant moving and go, go, go. I did a lot of work and felt good that the task was accomplished. My muscle pain is worse this time but Tylenol helped quite a bit.
The temporary ache I have in my legs is a nagging reminder that too few will ever feel this kind of fatigue gained from planting food for people. Most modern day folks get this pain from running nowhere on a treadmill or pumping iron in a gym. These efforts help build their bodies but provides no tangible goods for others much of the time.
The workout I got will produce thousands of pounds of food for people for years. People simply walk into a store and select their fruit every week. I hope that when they buy food, they hold it think about who grew and produced it. A lot of sweat equity goes into what we eat. Never forget that fact every time you eat.