Workin’ for Johnny

Workin’ for Johnny

With divorce comes countless life-changes–first and foremost is the need for an income. So I’ve taken a job working for Johnny. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked off the farm or outside the home. Eleven years this January, to be precise. It’s been difficult to reconcile myself to the concept of “workin for the man” again. Abiding by the rules and constructs set forth by mainstream society along with an unknown entity typically referred to as “the Boss”, adhering to a schedule and meeting expectations other than my own.

What originally began as a means to save money on child care and gas to and from work, and at the same time spend more time taking care of my babies, morphed into a work-at-home endeavor that gradually evolved into a farm-business. I’m extremely proud of all that I’ve learned, built-up and accomplished from the sanctity of my home. But whatever Runamuk may yet be–it does not pay the expenses of day-to-day living. Honestly–at this point–thanks to a number of set-backs (that’s another blog-post) it’s not even paying for itself.

Re-joining the mainstream workforce, I am grateful at least that I am able to work in the farming-field, even if it is not directly on the farm itself. Johnny is a good employer, the pay is decent for this area, and the people I work with are all farmers and gardeners on varying levels. I sit at a desk with a computer before me, a pair of headphones on my head with a cord that tethers me to the phone.

working at johnny's
The call center at Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

So who is Johnny?

You probably know him better as Johnny’s Selected Seeds–the Maine-based, employee-owned seed and tool company serving so many homesteaders and market gardeners across the country. Elliot Coleman talks about their seeds in his books, and Johnny’s carries all of the tools that Coleman has developed and trialed on his farm here in Maine. Their products are all of superior quality in order to provide the customer with the best possible growing conditions for success–that means their seeds have a higher germination rate and their tools are all ruggedly made for long-lasting use year after year.

And no–they’re not paying me to say any of these things. Naturally I’ve hinted that I’d like to write for the company and get paid to do it, lol. But no takers yet. A lot of the employees of position here started just like I am–in the call center. I admit that I fantasize about working on the Johnny’s blog and website–they offer a whole host of resources for growers–everything from growing guides for specific varieties to instructions for constructing your own hoop-house, informative videos and posts that give you a glimpse into the goings on at the Johnny’s Seeds’ research farm in Albion, Maine where the company trials all of the varieties that they offer in their catalog.

Like so many other things happening in my life at the moment, working at Johnny’s has been a big transition. Having worked on my own farm I’m used to a much more active lifestyle, so sitting at a desk for 8 to 10 hours a day is taking a lot of getting used to. I’ve been here nearly a month and a half but I’m only just beginning to feel more comfortable with the atmosphere, their computer system, and dealing with customer service again after more than a decade out of the loop.

I admit that it’s a bit of a bitter pill to swallow–having to work for someone other than myself again. But it’s a means to an end, and I will continue to funnel money into Runamuk to re-build my enterprise, expand my business, and at some point in the not-too-distant future invest in my own farm property where Runamuk can settle permanently. And you know I will, because I am no quitter. I have a dream, and I am going to see it come to life.

Stay tuned folks!


  1. gwen

    I admire your courage and persistence. Please stay in touch and we’ll try to support you ad much as we can. I keep thinking about Jim Murphy ‘s place in Starks and the farm legacy he wanted to establish there. Not sure you knew him. But perhaps that is something to explore. Can’t wait to get through this cold winter and in to spring…rebirth?

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