by Suzanne Podhaizer
For Kate Spring, who owns Good Heart Farmstead in Worcester with her husband, Edge Fuentes, her life as a writer has always “very much intertwined” with her interest in agriculture and the environment. At St. Lawrence University, she pursued a combined major in English and environmental studies, in which one topic informed the other. “My senior thesis connected essays about peace and the environment, action and acceptance,” she explains. “I wove in a lot of different things.”
But when Spring began farming on a windy, Central Vermont hillside with her husband, she didn’t initially see a way to combine her art with her business. She saw herself as a writer and a farmer. Soon, she saw herself as a mother, too, to a rambunctious, red-headed boy named Waylon.
As Waylon and the farm grew, Spring began blogging, and eventually, noticed that her writing turned towards matters of soil and hearth. Then came an Instagram account (goodheartfarmstead). The first photo, posted in August of 2015, was of a jar filled with sliced cucumbers and heads of dill waiting to become pickles.
Like the cucumbers into pickles, the photos changed and developed, adding stories alongside portraits of Waylon learning the ins and outs of hoeing, dirty hands in a box of seedlings, and a farm building glowing in the light of an autumnal sunset. Nowadays, Spring’s posts almost have the flavor of flash fiction: each is a slice of life, an entry point into what it means to be part of a farm family. “Growing a life like this increases compassion,” Spring explains. “I’m creating a space for conversation, to help people connect a little bit more.”