Polly Dalton Pursues Her Dreams with Farming

From foodtank.com, by Katie Opalinska
Polly Dalton Pursues Her Dreams with Farming

Hello, my name is Polly Dalton. I'm 24 years old and I've been farming for 4 years.

I grow annual vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit in my farm in Custer, Wisconsin.

Sustainable farming practices are important to me because our farm is a part of a larger ecosystem. One we need to continue functioning.

My favorite thing about being a farmer is the mix of spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual work. It's the perfect productive playground.

My farmer idol or superhero is Johnny Appleseed because of his self less commitment to future production and access for all.

My favorite song to listen to on the farm is "Quality Control" by Jurassic 5. 

When I'm not farming, I like to play ultimate frisbee and nap in the sunshine.

My favorite thing to grow is ground cherries! What a pleasant surprise!

My favorite thing to eat is vegetables grilled to perfection, alongside the perfect burger (topped with cheese).

If I could change one thing about the food system it would be its mainstream legitimacy as a fulfilling and viable life path. Yes, you can farm!

Something you don't know about me is I served on my city's common council. Local politics are under-appreciated. Policies affecting your life happen here.

If I could tell the world one thing about what being a farmer is like, it would be that whether conventional, sustainable, young, old or tired, farmers are fascinating thinkers, and they provide me with support, challenge my own thought process, and display the wonders of human cooperation and creative production. 

I am reducing post-harvest losses by eating more vegetables myself.

I conserve water on my farm by using drip irrigation, only when necessary. We plan to install a wireless remote, so we can switch on and off when necessary.

Climate change is affecting my farm through regular irregularities. No season has been normal, and no two seasons the same.

One thing I’m doing to protect the environment on my farm is planting more trees. Ensure genetic diversity by planting fruit trees from seed.

I think we need more young people involved in farming because it renews your sense of democratic participation and being a community leader.

One thing I’m doing to create healthy soil on my farm is wheelbarrows of compost, covering all beds, twice a year!

One thing I’m doing to prevent erosion from my farm is extensive cover cropping (clover is beautiful!) and herb and flower plantings.

The most difficult thing about sustainable farming is not having all the desired time to talk with consumers and potential consumers. I try to hear their stories and want to explain why I believe my food is absolutely necesary for them.

I chose the agricultural life because it allows me to pursue ALL (ok, most) of my dreams.

Others in my family involved in agriculture are engineers of indoor hydroponic/aquaponic systems and composting. 

The following resources, programs, or organizations are most valuable to my farm: my farm partners, customers, and neighbor farmer friends.