This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Farm Tour

Writing about a tour I attended at Essex Farm may not seem fitting for this blog but actually it is.  These farmers seem as interested in consciousness as they are interested in feeding people.  They don't come out and say as such but it is how I hear their message.  The tour didn't include a hay ride, petting goats or learning about their greenhouse.  As we walked fields of produce, passed barns and stopped at the draft horse pasture Kristin & Mark Kimball (Mark especially as he is the extrovert) provided their perspectives:

- "Sustainable" is a term some organic farmers prefer not to use.  It is an ideal to aspire towards but mostly a fantasy in the more real sense.
- They make choices daily which, for the most part, have to do with time.  Saving time now (a gardener can fuss about little things, whereas a farmer concerns him/herself with the best choice in the moment for the sake of efficiency) and what this choice means for future time (tomorrow, next year, 5, 10, 50, 100 years & on from now). 
- The questions they ask themselves continually, always weighing choices such as is this a time to just start up the tractor or should the draft horses be hitched up?
- The big concepts human kind has asked for ages and how they find these ideas and questions touch-down on their farm.   
- Human resources management and interacting with CSA members are the major relationships that go along with farming. 
- At the beginning of the tour Mark stated how our species will probably die-off as pretty much every species goes extinct eventually.  I agree with this notion and strangely felt at ease knowing our guide for the day was someone willing to discuss important, yet perhaps somewhat taboo subject matter.  I don't think we're all doomed in the near future in some end-of-2012-ordeal but over the long-term, well...  When we know nothing lasts forever, don't we appreciate the preciousness?
- Something returned to again and again:  MONEY.  The Kimballs seem concerned about their farm maintaining fiscal equilibrium.  I'm thankful and willing to pay a farmer who endeavors to make available healthy, organic food.  In survival there are the rules of 3's: generally a human cannot survive beyond 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter (maintaining 98.6 can be tricky), 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food.  Being a well-fed Westerner I struggle when skipping 3 meals in a row, in the case of surgery preparation for example.  I'm grateful to those who know how to produce food, are willing to take the risks necessary to do so and go through a lot of hard, hard work in the process. 

Essex Farm maintains an idealistic quality but in a form where questions seem to float in the atmosphere in a palpable sort of way, at least on the enlightening farm tour day. The parents with children may have expected more entertainment for their little ones.  As one who desired an educational experience of the farm I wasn't disappointed.

It was also a pleasure meeting the other attendees.  As we walked we discussed our own ideas, what we are doing and hope to accomplish in the future with the combination of seed, dirt, air & water and with animals.  Some were gardeners, some were farmers.  My future hopefully includes a decent-sized garden, some chickens and other animals to sustain my husband and myself with leftovers to share and trade.  We may even lease land to organic farmers.

If you would like to know more about Essex Farm and the Kimballs read The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.  They are also featured in the documentary Small Farm Rising directed by Ben Stechschulte.  Stechschulte directed the documentary Three Farms, also filmed in Essex County New York, my currently part-time and hopefully full-time-in-the-future neck of the woods.  A director's cut of Small Farm Rising is due out at some point.  It is apparently even better than the original, which had to be edited to fit a PBS television time-slot.






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