Ten Minutes with Megan Haney
A woman whose happy place is on the farm
Megan Haney found her calling to the land while growing up in Brooklyn. Leasing 14 acres of land from the Kent Land Trust, she runs Marble Valley Farm, a non-certified-organic vegetable farm and CSA in Kent. We spoke with her about how she became a farmer, what excites and inspires her, and how she spends her days once the land lies fallow.
How did your Brooklyn upbringing impact your desire to be a farmer?
Yeah, the stork kinda landed in the wrong place. I did love my neighborhood, but I needed to find a place that was much bigger than any human construct, and a city is largely a human construct. Being out in nature is really a kind of necessary balance to me. So in that sense, my Brooklyn upbringing did impact my desire to work the land, but in the inverse way. It wasn’t until I tried farming in my very late twenties that the scoreboard lit up. Suddenly the technicolor wash was everywhere.
Where did you learn to be an organic farmer?
I got a jump-start by going to a six-month intensive “Farm School” back in 1990 at UC Santa Cruz, where they have the country’s oldest training program in organic farming.
What things excite you most about being a farmer?
Aside from the thrill of seeing seeds come up that we threw down, which never really subsides, it’s gotta be coming across all kinds of creatures, on a regular basis, that I never knew existed prior to that moment. Some are insects, some are mammals, some are reptiles. One time, I had planted a small flag with the slogan “Yes!” on it, in a back corner of a farm elsewhere in Connecticut. I and my friends said some words affirming our hope for the farm’s success that year. The next morning, I found a huge purplish sticky mess at the base of the flagpole. A creature—most likely a deer—had chosen that particular place to give birth. I feel it was a response to the kind of energy that we had summoned to that particular spot.
Running a farm is challenging. What keeps you going?
I have some of the best customers in the world. Not only the folks who come into the stand and share their lives with me on a weekly basis, but also the great local restaurants who are willing to scoop up whatever I can’t move at the stand—places like Kingsley’s Tavern in Kent, The Green Granary in New Milford, and New Milford Hospital.
Can you leave us with a favorite story or quote?
Yes, a story about a boy and his grandfather. Here’s one version of it: A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us that are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf, which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear. The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second, then looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?” The grandfather replies, “The one you feed the most.” That’s a story I would do well to remember far more often.