A Farmers’ Perspective on Farm Labor & Health

Anita & Thomas Roberson in their cut flower garden.

Anita & Thomas Roberson

Botanical Bites & Provisions, Fredericksburg, VA

In thinking about farm labor, we first honor the many hands that laboriously transform seeds and transplants and care for animals around the clock and in all weather conditions to provide nutritious food for everyone. We then reflect on our 10-acre farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where most products are hand-raised or handmade. My wife, Anita, and I diligently labor on our farm to grow a wide range of wholesome fruits and vegetables. We are conscious of the health linkages to labor and agriculture in general, which is why we grow produce free of preservatives, herbicides and pesticides to ensure we’re preserving the environment and providing consumers with a healthy quality of living. In agriculture, food tells a remarkable story of not only personal history but also dietary health and patterns.

Growing up on farms, we both have always had a passion for farming. As small farmers, we are intimately familiar with the work that goes into the life of agricultural workers, including the long days, unpredictable weather and insect and wildlife pressures, along with the successes of beautiful and bountiful harvests. These are all part of the battles and victories of farming. Although we both served in the military, nothing prepares you better for the challenges of life like farming, because it is so dynamic.

Farming started as a hobby, growing food for our family and friends. Then we met Agricultural Extension Agents from the Small Farm Outreach Program at Virginia State University (VSU), which changed our trajectory. We decided to farm full-time, thus leading to the establishment of Botanical Bites & Provisions LLC. We aspire to be a marketplace for healthy foods, luscious plants, apiary products and beautiful flowers. We are now a USDA registered farm and Naturally Grown Certified. The many classes we attended at VSU enhanced our farming experience by introducing new technologies that helped us save time, money and natural resources. We even have had the opportunity to hire farm workers and work with volunteers who help ensure that fresh quality produce and flowers are picked, sorted and delivered throughout the community. As small farmers, we faced several labor challenges but remained resilient and are thankful to our creator that our hard work paid off.

Farming can be hard, diligent and tiring work. It requires patience, discipline and resilience and a great deal of commitment and effort. Yet, farming also has numerous amazing benefits. It takes special people to take on this labor of love, so it is critical to honor our creator, as well as the many farmworkers, growers, ranchers and transporters, who toiled against the heat of the sun to make your meal and fellowship possible.

Anita & Thomas Roberson in their cut flower garden.

Anita & Thomas Roberson in their cut flower garden.

About the Robersons

Anita & Thomas Roberson are passionate fourth generation farmers and veterans who own and operate Botanical Bites & Provisions, a small farm located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. On their farm, they grow a wide range of fresh foods that are free of pesticides, preservatives and herbicides. The Robersons are passionate about spreading awareness on the health linkages to agriculture and how it impacts healthy living.

Botanical Bites & Provisions

Learn more and Visit

array(0) {