The moment: Weeding

I decided to change my way of life. I gave up my job and emigrated to Scotland.
Photo: Lin Batten

Turning points: sometimes you spot them immediately and sometimes only in retrospect. In this series, members of the WUR community describe a decisive moment they will never forget. This time, research assistant Lin Batten, whose severe workload prompted her to pack her bags and move to Scotland.

‘I worked for two years for an online food magazine, as project leader and editor, which was a good fit with my degree in Food Security. But I got stressed out by the pressure I experienced there. So I pedalled back on the job and did a lot of meditation, took a mindfulness course and had cognitive behavioural therapy. I later realized that I was mainly fighting symptoms with these methods, and not tackling the cause: my job. Nevertheless, I did gradually recover. Once I was working full-time again, I realized that I wasn’t happy spending day after day at a desk. I missed hands-on work. And it felt contradictory to be an expert in food security when I had no idea how to plant a potato.

I realized I was mainly fighting symptoms and not tackling the cause: my job

‘I decided to change my way of life. I gave up my job at the newspaper and emigrated to Scotland, where my boyfriend lives and works. I started work there on a small farm, among the chickens, crops and orchards. Weeding, sowing, planting, and turning compost. On a farm you see the impact of what you do on the food security of your own community straightaway. I find that incredibly motivating.

As well as working on the farm, I work three days a week as a research assistant and administrator for the Law chair group at WUR. My boss there has no problem with my working remotely and this situation gives me the perfect balance between theory and practice. ‘In total I now work five days a week again. And although I put in long hours on the farm, especially in the summer, it doesn’t feel like hard work. The new structure in my life has done me a lot of good and made life more meaningful, so I’m a lot happier. I get paid for the work I do on the farm in eggs, vegetables and fruit, so I depend on my work at WUR for my financial security. I can make ends meet easily, and I’ve got energy and inspiration again to start new things.’

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