NAME: Lily Morgan-Cohill
HOME TOWN: Henderson, Colorado
FARM NAME & LOCATION: Lily’s Farm Fresh Skin Care in Henderson, Colorado
FARM TYPE / CROPS: Medicinal herbs – flowers, herbs
- Music: Blues
- Food: Mexican
- Drinks: Beer
- Blue Jeans: Miss Me
- Thing to do AFTER work: drink beer and ride motorcycles
- Mantra: “One step at a time…”
What's your relationship status?
Do you have children? Do they work on the farm with you?
I have one son, and he is 21. (Laughing) – No, he might pick food if he’s hungry.
Where is the farthest you have traveled to? Where would you like to go?
I’ve traveled to Syria, Lebanon, India, and China. I don’t know which is further! There are so many places! Burma, Antarctica, Iceland, and New Guinea. I’m working to save, so I can travel.
What is your attitude about money?
I respect money. I like money and it likes me. I think that’s not the case with so many people, and that’s why they don’t have any. If you have a respect for it and what it does for the world, then you will have it. For example, I sponsor 5 Tibetan people; I support them with $10 a month, completely feed them, and shelter them in southern India in a refugee camp. Every time I go spend $10, I think to myself, is this more important than that? My dad taught me about money and the stock market. I have managed my own money since I was five years old. I have a good relationship with money; it likes me because I like it.
How did you get into farming?
I was born into it. I’m a 7th generation grower before the revolution. I spent my entire childhood plotting how I was going to get off and away that farm. Look at me now though; I have a farm of my own. I have completely different practices, but still ended up on a farm. So, many people have the notion farming is romantic but I learned at an early age it’s only two things: work and food. I love that portrayal, but it’s hard work.
What was the HARDEST part getting started?
Getting the farm! They are not easy to come by. Finding the perfect piece of land isn’t easy and takes time. Also, what we do. We are the only skin care company on the planet you can buy from the USDA certified organic grower! People say to me all the time, “You are today, until the next one comes up”, but there is a reason no one else does it. We really are the only company in the world that goes through this much trouble so people can buy these products through the farmer. No one else is going to pay this much for the cost of land or cost of water to run a business like this. It’s a lot of time, money and hard work.
What SURPRISED you about farming?
What surprised me is I need time getting over every year/season wrapping up and how much work it is. It awes me. Also, how magical it is too. You plant this little seed and 3 to 4 months, or whenever later, you have a green chili to munch on. I don’t think you ever get over that and how magical Mother Nature is. The beauty and hardship of her. She does rule. Mankind thinks they are smarter than Mother Nature but then she reminds us. It still surprises and shocks me, the ignorance of mankind, and I don’t think I will ever get over it.
TELL US ABOUT A DAY ON THE FARM: When does your day start and end?
It’s different everyday but I love that. Usually in the summer when everything is growing, I get up early, and do some weeding. Once all the plants are in the ground, it’s all about weeding until harvest. Weeding is everyday constantly and mowing. Parts of the day I will spray the bugs with a vinegar and jalapeсo (we grow) concoction. I spray it between rows while on the tractor. It’s great at running off grasshoppers and goat heads. Everything goes until the early fall or until the first freeze. We have to get everything harvested by the time that happens and that’s when I invite my friends over to help for a harvest party. They bring there own bag or box and get to harvest what ever they can before the freeze to take with them. I harvest everything early in the morning, why? Because: a.) The sun b.) It’s good to pick the things in the morning right after the dew c.) It’s a biodynamic and old farmer tale. You can’t be out there in July at noon it might be 101 degrees! I do so many other things too, I might be selling product at the store, managing the website, might be giving a demo at Whole Food, making sales to clients, or giving a class. I might be meeting with an Economic Development Association, meeting with business development, meeting with the town of Hudson, going to events, meetings, and networking at night. Saturday at stores. It really is all varied.
What makes you HAPPY in a day on the farm?
Going out and picking your dinner. Also, the pepper, green chilies, jalapeсos, green peppers, and red peppers. All the peppers! So you go out there, pick what you want for your meal, and sometimes you can really cook your whole dinner from the farm. Then have some fresh mint tea and make dinner, that’s just so cool.
What makes you FRUSTRATED?
BUGS! They drive me insane. I got so frustrated one time, and I started beating these little black beetles! They were all over the calendula so I would get them off with a stick and then kill them with my boots, just continually stomping on them. I had to resort to not planting calendula the next year because I thought it was the reason I had them. I was right they did attract the bugs because the next year when I didn’t grow them there were no beetles. It was a good way to release some tension, to kill those damn bugs, not good methodology but they didn’t mind the vinegar and habaneros or jalapeсos. Those little black beetles…hope they figured out someone else’s field to go to and won’t ever come back to mine.
Any lessons learned on the farm?
Hard work does pay, and that’s the beautiful thing about farming. You plant these little seeds and then you get a bunch of chilies, for example. In all likelihood, you will get food. It’s that direct correlation between work and pay.
What do you think a big MISCONCEPTION is about farming or farmers?
I don’t think most people need to know about farming to have misconception about it. See, there’s this gap between regular people and farming. A downtown Denver secretary, lawyer who’s going to work in their offices and who’s world is made up of their personal wants of materialistic items, isn’t going to even register what farming really is. Everyday normal people, I don’t think they have one clue about farming. We are well liked. Don’t get me wrong people like lawyers they like farmers and have a good perception of us, but they don’t have enough knowledge or information to have a misconception. That’s farming as a whole. For organic farming people don’t see the word organic being a methodology. So that could be a misconception the average person has, people who aren’t farmers see it as hip and cool, but they don’t draw the line to the farm. The biggest misconception about organic farming is organic refers to methodology of agriculture. It is not just a label at Whole Foods. I don’t think people make that correlation.
ANY ADVICE TO OTHER FARMERS?
My dad said, “If you want to make a small fortune in farming start with a large fortune.” My advice is to do it because you love it. Do it because you’re passionate. Do it because you want it. The large fortune is your happiness that farming brings you, that’s the only reason to ever do this kind of work.
Anything to say to people who aren’t farmers?
Think about where your food comes from because you want to make sure it’s going to be there tomorrow. Despite all the local talk, we’ve been lucky enough to never experience a famine. Just really appreciate where your food is coming from and who is making sure it comes there. Nothing besides water is more fundamental then food, you need it to live.
What concerns you the most about the future of farming?
Well, that there won’t be enough of us, I mean I’ll be dead and my sons are not going take over. What concerns me is, there won’t be enough farms. That is a big concern, not enough farms, not enough farmers, and not enough food. Truthfully, there are very few younger people who actually want to do this compared to the average young person. An average American college kid thinks that’s below them. I think very few people are willing to work this hard. The problem in America is people think manual labor is beneath them. You have to start somewhere, though. No matter what you do, you have to start somewhere but a lot of people based on their perception of certain jobs won’t even consider it because they think they are quote on quote, “better” than that. It is people thinking they need all these luxuries in life. Very few people are willing to sacrifice, even though you’re not sacrificing at all.
Where do you think you'll be in 5 or 10 years?
I will be welcoming you to the farm factory store where you can watch us making products, visit plants and pet a little goat. I dream of being this grand hostess, “Come in let me show you around.” I see the farm having events, educational opportunities, I see people walking through the lavender, having yoga in the garden, people enjoying the exceptional mountain views in a country rural mountain world.