I write. And farm. If you would like me to write for you, or farm-sit for you, please send me an email at birchbark.erica (at) gmail (dot) com.
Pleased to meet you! And here’s a bit about me:
My name is Erica Romkema. I grew up in Minnesota and Iowa and I can’t get farms and nature out of my blood. (Or mind, or heart, or spirit, or all of these things.) I do not have a farm yet, but I know that one day I’m going to. How will it happen? Wait and see! I do currently have the privilege of working with an organization called Hungry Turtle Farm & Learning Center, so you’ll hear a lot about that in the meantime, as I look for ways to support farmers, farming, and native habitat. Lucky me!
My educational background is in English, creative writing, and sustainable agriculture. My spiritual background is Christianity, and I’m there yet, though I’ve learned a lot lately within my faith that is surprising, and beautiful, and sometimes a little startling. Wendell Berry has a great poem called “A Homecoming” which, to me, is about the freedom to explore and learn in one’s faith journey, without fear – that we can, even, find our way home in doing so – and that is what I aim for.
I didn’t take the writing/agriculture/faith route hoping to become the next Wendell Berry, though of course I discovered him, and many other wonderful folk, along the way. It turns out there are many of us, writers and artists who love working outdoors, with our hands, restoring and growing and healing. This seems natural. Creativity and nurture. They go well together. (You must check out the wonderful programs at Iowa State – the MFA in Creative Writing and Environment and the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture. Thanks to ISU and these programs for great classes, professors, peers, and potlucks!)
So in addition to spending hours with books in front of my face, I have also dedicated lots of time to volunteering and working on farms from Iowa to France. I want to serve in love through farming and hospitality. I do not know everything, by any means, and sometimes I stumble upon such lack of knowledge in myself that I’m shocked. (Really? I don’t know how to identify all the different kinds of lettuce? I don’t have planting dates memorized? How is this possible?) But I am always eager to learn, and a good thing about nature is that there’s plenty of learning to be had.
I write here because I’m hungry to be creating, and appreciating, and engaging with others in the process. How good it is to have a place to gather ideas and share thought and point out marvelous details of life! I love it. And I hope you enjoy.
“Beginning Farmers: Learning, Networking, and Connecting to Place.” A Growing Culture. 6 February 2013. Link.
“Learning Mob Grazing on the Nebraska Sandhills.” A Growing Culture. 16 May 2012. Link.
Riding the Neighbors’ Horses. March 2012. Link.
Book Review: Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper. The Practical Farmer. Practical Farmers of Iowa. Summer 2011. Link.
“Finding” and “nettles,” Splash of Red. July 2010. Link.
“Reward,” “Ecuador,” and “new moon at hilltop,” dirtcakes. June 2010. Link.
“Ritual.” Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Contest, Honorable Mention. April 2010.
Red ribbon and brown boots: becoming an agrarian girl. MFA thesis. Iowa State University, Ames. December 2009.
“my father’s hands,” Triggerfish Critical Review. December 2009.
“Heritage” and “Early Days at the Farmers Market,” Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment. Spring 2009.
“Eating Lessons,” The Practical Farmer. Practical Farmers of Iowa. Summer 2008.
“Shaping My Way,” Root Stock. Organic Valley Family of Farms Cooperative. March 2007.