An Activist’s Spirit


Did you know that my husband and I used to run a produce stand and sell vegetables in our city? Vegetables that we grew ourselves right in our backyard? Right here in Norfolk, VA. It was such a great time. It got to be busy and time consuming, but we really loved it. Sometimes I really miss it. Last year we decided to not sell our produce anymore because 1.) I just had a baby, and 2.) we decided to focus all of our time, energy and money on getting me into a doctoral program. Well, we all know how that went.

I still own that business. It’s called Barnett Family Farms.  Sometimes I think about selling vegetables again but we didn’t have enough time between finding out about all of my rejections and growing a big garden again. So, having a produce stand isn’t really an option  for me this year. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what to do with my time. With my life. I’m in a very strange place of having really nothing to plan for or to look forward to. I have usually always had something on the horizon to guide me and to look towards. But not now. And it’s a bit, oh, I don’t know, lonely? No. That’s not what it feels like. Perhaps lost? Well, no, not that either. I guess I just feel sad. I gave up so much and spent so much time and now I’m just sad to not have what I so looked forward to.

Ah, but don’t you worry, because I know that you are. If there’s anything that you should know about me is that there will always be something else. My mind is always working around and around, thinking, analyzing, questioning, dreaming. A conclusion that I drew over the weekend is that I am an activist at heart. A lot of my nature is to fight for the causes that I love and am passionate about and academia doesn’t leave much time for activist work. So, perhaps this could be an opportunity for me to put my activist muscle to good use. Education, food sovereignty, anti-racism, politics, literature, women. All important things to me. They’re always at the forefront of my mind. But what to do with them…

For now I’m considering asking my sons’ elementary school if we can start a garden there. Something small. Something that can be integrated into a few of the classes. Of course I have ideas for something big, HUGE, like a non-profit that works to put gardens and volunteers at every school in Norfolk and getting high schoolers summer jobs tending and selling their produce. (Hi! Idealistic activist here!) But, for now, maybe I’ll just help a few first graders grow some tomatoes.



3 thoughts on “An Activist’s Spirit

  1. Sounds like a wonderful plan – and wow – you are a Force! I am sure you’ll figure out what the next path is. Now I can see why you are feeling sore today. My goodness. How I miss my garden, but it was a teeny thing compared to your endeavors!


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