Melinda Parker runs an all-female farm in Colorado, she has been growing hemp for years I decided to interview her about her life and how farming has played a role in it.
As a child I spent much of my time in the garden with my grandparents. My Pop would spend hours grooming the field for planting season. So much care was put into the placement of the vegetables. And of course always considering what phase the moon was in when planting the root vegetables. Careful and steady hands pulled lines for the string beans to climb. Rows were tilled and mounds were formed for squash, carrots, & beets. A special spot against the brick wall was the prized horse radish and asparagus planting area. I would find lizards scampering this wall, giving me a much needed distraction sometimes.
It seemed to me as a child that my grandpa and my brothers tended the garden and my mom and grandmother would prepare, pickle and preserve the yield when the time came. Gardening and hard work was for the “men” to do and the kitchen was the “woman’s place.” I always embraced & loved doing both. It was an old fashioned way of thinking that I had to be in the kitchen making jam, rather than be tending to the boysenberry vines yielding the fruit! Somehow I managed to learn both trades. That of the ways of gardening & the ways of cooking. What a blessed girl I was, and still am.
When we were looking for contract farmers to grow hemp with us, a special farmer struck me as a perfect fit. Melinda & her daughter Michelle are farmers here in Colorado. How refreshing to find an all female run farm!
Melinda has a charismatic outlook on life. I truly enjoyed questioning her and learning about her life’s work on the farm & the path that led her there. A major influence in her life was her father. She appreciated being outdoors enjoying nature with him. The best piece of advice she’s gotten in life was from him, “Be dependable and work hard.” Words Melinda has chosen to live by. Melinda’s life & work ethics spill over into her gardening practices as well. Her farming intentions are to improve the land and to learn everything she can about the farming and hemp industry. Thus promoting good vibes by improving her product and land which in turn helps the community.
Melinda’s daughter Michelle approached her about growing hemp, saying it could be an interesting opportunity. Although, it meant turning her canoe upstream in a somewhat conservative community, she decided to do it anyway! Hemp is a wonderful crop for Melinda to grow in order to help her land. Hemp is resilient to the elements & requires few pesticides and no herbicides. It is an excellent crop for rotation farming.
As a summer crop, it creates a lot of shade for the ground below, curbing weeds and loosening soil before the planting of winter crops.
Growing hemp also comes with the benefits of medicinal use after processing. Creating an organic Full Spectrum Hemp Seed Oil is Garden Om’s mission. Working with wonderful farmers like Melinda & Michelle makes the whole process so much more enjoyable! In the end we know we have a superior product that began with a seed, a pure intention and a motivated farmer.
When I inquired about any advice Melinda might have for a beginner grower she says without hesitation, “Understand that it’s hard work, and may not be as profitable as you think.”
Now I am a mother and enjoy working the farm with my own children. It brings me so much joy to witness them embracing the same experiences that I did as a child. Sometimes it is the vegetable garden and sometimes it is the Hemp garden! Both have taught all of us lessons in patience, diligence, humility & pride!
We can’t always know what mother nature might throw at you. Farming is not as predictable as you think. Positive energy put in, combined with some good weather, knowledge and luck can pay off exponentially though.
Although Melinda enjoys growing hemp, when asked what plant she would be and why, her response was, “ I love rose bush because of it’s smell.” And I am not surprised! For myself, if I am not a hemp plant I would probably be a gardenia bush! For the same reasons Melinda is a rose, I love the smell 🙂