Video: In love with the land

Husband and wife duo talk farming and relationship

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer Staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 22, 2018

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Five years ago when Marsha Henry-Austin met her husband Headly, her entire life changed.

In fact, she has transitioned from waiting on people to call her to do their laundry to earn an income, to literally getting her hands dirty and making her own money.

The 34-year-old, who wears many hats, said she has fallen in love not just with a farmer but with farming.

On an overcast Wednesday morning in Victoria district, Clarendon, she is clad in a pair of water boots, T-shirt and long pants, machete in her right hand and her husband by her side.

The clouds that were once wispy and white were now darker and more dense.

The farming couple had completed their task at their cabbage patch and was heading to their carrot farm, seemingly oblivious to the growing greyness of the skies and the beginning of a drizzle.

But Henry-Austin, seemingly shy, went to the farm store and left her husband to field the interview with the Jamaica Observer under an umbrella along the roadway.

Headly, who was obviously proud of his wife and their relationship on and off the farm, told the Observer that they have been married for three months.

“You and your wife are farmers and have to think about safety, and the two of us have to go to the field.

“In the morning I leave my house at 6 o'clock. She gets up, send the kids to school, looks after breakfast, and brings it after. When me a leave out is like a cup of tea enuh,” he said.

The next thing on the daily agenda would be attending to their pigs, he said.

With three children between them, aged 18, 13 and six, their goal is to ensure that they receive a proper education, in spite of the challenges.

“More time a hand to mouth but we still have to survive, cause we no wah in a di crime thing. We plant just about everything because we have to survive,” he said.

After the clearing of lands, the sowing of seeds and the reaping process have all ended, Henry-Austin takes the produce to May Pen Market on a Saturday or sometimes during the week, depending on the amount she harvests, and plies her trade as a vendor.

“We nuh have it all the time but more time when it ready you can reap all a 500 or a 1,000 pounds of cabbage per week,” Austin disclosed.

Headly, whose parents were also farmers, said his wife takes a day away from the fields to do laundry.

“A no every woman know how to do the thing,” he said with pride.

When the Observer arrived at the carrot field, the couple worked their machetes through the saturated ground as they removed shrubs from between the carrots, which are expected to be ready in time for the festive season.

When the Observer asked her for the formula behind the partnership she said: “I love what I do.”

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