The 199th recipient is Kristian Bailey of @wheretheflowersmaybloom in Louisiana.
Kristian writes, “Farming for me is both one of the hardest things I’ve done as well as a continuously healing medicine that always finds ways to teach me about myself and the world around me. I’m not sure I ever believed it would be not only a career, but one of my deepest passions. I come from a family of people deeply connected to the lands tracing the bank of the Mississippi River in South Eastern Louisiana. This area is now more broadly known as ‘cancer alley’. Despite the looming infrastructure of the petrochemical plants that poison the lands and air of my region, the ways of life and culture of people in these communities persist. It is this persistence along with the active resistance to the building of these so called ‘industry and economic producing opportunities’ that instills the grit and drive to do the work that I do. We need far less petrochemical based industry along the river, and much more community based organization as well as mobility.
Being 25 in a world going through massive changes both good and bad has greatly influenced my reasonings for holding farming and land work as something deeply important to the core of my being. I want to feed people, clothe people, and provide people with the skills to disconnect from the cycle of inaccessibility and forced choice. The knowledge and experiences I’ve learned along the way has lit not only a fire of optimism and action based hope within me, it has generated a confidence to actually make my dreams and hopes a tangible reality. Farming and land based work has given me the great opportunity to tangibly see and feel the things I’ve imagined. Through these experiences, I firmly attach myself to the joys of liberation and community.
As of now I farm alone and do a great majority of the work by myself; however, I am always very thankful for help in whatever ways they come along both present and future. The work alone is hard, yet incredibly contemplative work. I find a great amount of healing in trusting myself to handle the responsibilities of running a farm, as well as getting through difficult days when a part of me believed I couldn’t. Some of my forms of self care are sitting at the banks of the Mississippi River while watching summer sunsets, enjoying time with family and friends, and seeing and experiencing new things. I am incredibly hopeful and optimistic that a multitude of passionate and kind people can come together collectively to bring tangible healing to our community. Real structural change is possible through collective effort as well as alignment. Knowing this, I am vehemently confident in our ability to create a more gentle, just and kind world.”