We have three new family members! One is of the four-legged variety that our granddaughter named, O-Cat. O-Cat will slowly be introduced to the other cats of the family and hopefully, our “princess” cat, Socks will behave and make room for this precious new addition.

Our next new family member is Whitney. Whitney was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is part of the WWOOFer program. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOF is a worldwide organization that links volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and a non-monetary exchange. Volunteers live with their host farm and help with daily tasks, they learn about farming and experience life in other areas of the country and across the world. WWOOF links like minded people together who are passionate about healthy food, healthy living and a healthy planet. It’s a cultural exchange where not only the love of farming is shared but where participants are given the opportunity to sprout and bloom into life long relationships. Whitney began working on farms in February of this year and has experienced life on a goat farm in Virginia, an intentional community in Virginia, a flower and herb farm in Tennessee and after she leaves our retreat will be heading west to Colorado. Whitney’s end goal is to work with the elephants in Thailand.

When I asked her why WWOOFing she replied, “Participating in this organization is giving me the opportunity to gain worldly experiences. I grew up in the city. I’m passionate about working with the land and learning new things. I’m determined to be self-sufficient and learn to make it on my own.”

When asked to share the good the bad and the ugly of taking on such a journey Whitney said, “The good would be meeting a spectrum of people. Learning what works and what doesn’t. I’m learning different ways of living and experiencing different family dynamics is exciting. The bad is having no idea what you are getting into when you head to the next destination. At times the experience doesn’t meet up to your expectations and lets you down. The ugly would be the people that you might run across that take advantage of the volunteers and not fulfill what they promise.”

Whitney has only been with us since the first of May and already shes like one of the family. We will be sad to see her leave at the end of the month but our lives are already richer for having the opportunity to get to know her and share our love of community and family with her. “Do not fear if the path is unclear, have faith in your journey,” - unknown.

Our third new member also has four legs, carries a trunk with it wherever he goes and is soft and fluffy. Yes, you guessed it, it’s an elephant named Junior.

It’s been a very busy week. We’ve also had guests from Little Rock. Our market family just keeps growing and growing like the seeds in our garden beds. May is the month we celebrate four years of serving our community. We’ve changed our daily routine over the years but one thing that has never changed is our commitment to meet the needs of those we meet. We love sharing the retreat with guests and day visitors, we continue to give of our abundance and in return we are blessed with making new friends and seeing people smile every day. “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back,” - unknown. Giving matters everyday. We get as much as we give. We really enjoyed our guests this weekend and hope we will see them again soon.

If you have a heart warming story about giving to tell please share it with me so that others can read about it in this column. Call, 501-253-4716, 501-757-2750, email grandmayogi7@yahoo.com, text or message me on Facebook through The Dirty Farmers Community Market page.