How One Couple Balance Marriage, Family, and a Farm
Like most farm families, Full Moon Farm’s Rachel Nevitt and David Zuckerman live, work, and manage together in a small town outside of Burlington, VT.
That brings strength and, naturally, occasional stress. But the strengths seem to far outweigh the stresses.
For one, it allows them both to decide how the farm will give them what they need.
“One of the reasons I’m a farmer, there’s always something to learn,” Nevitt says.
Zuckerman says he’s an extrovert and especially enjoys what he terms “people time” at the CSA pickup areas and at the farmers’ market. It also allows him to have his career in politics, which, like farming, is a seasonal occupation. Zuckerman has been a state represetative, a state senator, and is currently Vermont’s lieutenant governor.
When it comes to making decisions, the two work as a team, even if it’s not always a smooth process.
“He’s the kind of person who jumps all in without thinking about the logistics, but it gets done,” Nevitt says. “I look at it from every possible perspective, and by the time I have thought it out, I’ve talked myself out of it. Together we make a great team; together we do it right.”
A core benefit for both Zuckerman and Nevitt is being able to have their daughter grow up on the farm and not in day care. In fact, the couple opened a summer farm camp so other families can send their kids to learn about farm life, and simply to have fun being outdoors.
“By running a camp on the farm, our daughter is still engaged in the farm, but not tortured into work. It’s allowing her to develop a love for it without it being shoved down their throat,” Nevitt says.
Farm Camp Helps Kids Love Growing
In the summer months, Nevitt runs a day camp for local kids, including her and Zuckerman’s daughter.
“We do it as our farm business,” she says. “It works for us, even in the one year when there was a big dive in the finances for Farm Camp. I told David, ‘Let’s look at it this way: We didn’t pay for any childcare that year and our child was here. I didn’t have to spend my time to get her up, take her in the car to drop her off, then coming back on other end of the day.’”
The camp runs Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During camp hours, the kids get a real taste of farm life.
“They’re doing animal chores, and working in the children’s garden, which is a learning garden. In the afternoons, there can be a variety of things — scavenger hunts, hide and seek in the corn, build forts in the children’s garden, and making different foods,” Nevitt says.
She says the children often do things that more institutional organizations wouldn’t allow, like playing in the rain and getting muddy.
Nevitt has a background in education, and brings in counselors who are willing to work on the farm when there’s no camp.
“Having my kid around all the time was invaluable, spending my time being and doing productive things with her. For me, that has been so big,” she says.