Growing up, Gale Livingstone may have aspired to pursue many professions, but farming was not one of them. "I was the very girly-girl," she says. "I have friends who still can't believe what I now do for a living!"
A first generation farmer, Gale was born in Guyana, emigrating to the U.S. as a child and living in New York City until she was a young adult. She put her nose in the books, worked hard, and after college launched a promising career in business consulting. But despite the fact that Gale had ascended to a management position with great benefits, something was missing.
Luckily, Gale had arrived in Washington, D.C. around the same time that the city's farmers markets and community gardens became more popular and accessible. Even as she slogged away at full time job, Gale found herself spending more and more time in her local community garden. "It was the only time that I felt truly happy." An added benefit - community gardening got Gale moving and spending time outside - instead of planted in a windowless office at her desk.
When Gale's daughter was suddenly grown and she found herself able to downsize, she set her sights on farming full time. Not one to do things halfway, Gale reached out to several organic farmers in the D/M/V/WV, asking to work for free for the benefit of hands-on learning. One farmer responded, Gale quit her corporate job, and put on her boots. Once she felt she was ready, she struck out on her own. That was in 2011.
Still going strong, Rainbow Hill Farm is a certified organic small farm in beautiful West Virginia (and only 90 minutes from DC.) Gale runs the farm with her mother's help. Her daughter, who still lives in the area, comes to help as well.. The farm is surrounded by lovely rolling hills and has beautiful emerald green views. Gale grows a diverse crop of vegetables, fruits, and flowers which she supplies to her local Community Supported Agriculture ("CSA"), as well as to the H Street, Capitol Riverfront, and Ballston Fresh Farm farmers markets. She also has a vocal and somewhat personable village of roaming chickens and tight-knit posse of ducks that are good egg producers. Gale has had to take extra measures to protect her birds from predators, like the giant barn owl who is also a master locksmith.
Of course, it has not been easy - Mother Nature always keeps things interesting - like when a freak Spring snow storm took down an entire greenhouse. But Gale just rolls with it, because at the end of the day, she is happy. There is something to be said for finding your life's work.