I’ve been loving the early mornings these last few weeks (once I get into the routine!). The stillness before you being to feel the day begin. A friend came out for an early morning coffee this week and we had a little walk around the patch, at the same time talking about ventures and ideas before the new day truly set in. They asked me why I wanted to do the patch and I kinda just rambled off my reason of wanting to provide accessible, REAL nutritious food to the people of the community.
Then I began to explain how we are in the process of starting to organise our next little upscale this year, and with a bit more consistent quantity we will finally be able to sell to the people as well as local businesses. Beginning very small with a handful of boxes combining other local growers and local producers (we ALL want to work cooperatively, not competitively).
From that conversation I continued to ramble on about how Sas and I don’t believe the current food system can last for very long and that we wanted to our system to work without being completely reliant on fossil fuels and big machines and synthetic chemicals and fertilisers, which would produce a lot of food in the short term but kill the soil in the process.
The conversation ended there but after we said goodbye my mind kept thinking about the underpinning values of why do I do what I do? I think the current system doesn’t value food for what it truly is. I want to grow food that is accessible and honest. Accessible to people like myself who don’t earn a lot of money, but deserve just as any other to eat food that not only tastes delicious and sustains them but also provides the body with what it truly needs. Not just food that looks pretty but is full of water and is tasteless. Honest as it’s grown with the land and with the seasons and pretty much our bare hands! The reality of working with the land has become apparent to me yet again this season. Everything is about a month behind and all we can do is roll with it…
We want to nourish the land in which we work. It holds our entire race, we walk on it every day, it holds the trees which give us air which enable us to live…geez, if we don’t look after it what are we thinking? We want to leave the soil we work with better than when we started.
Connection. I know it can be an overused word, but it keeps hanging around! Now that the snakes have left us alone for a bit I’m working in bare feet before the heat of the day and I love it so much. Touching the earth with your bare skin, getting the dirt under your nails, watching the little seeds sprout their heads, being amazed at all the little lives that inhabit the flowers, the soil, the air…ah I could go on! It’s also very grounding I believe. In the world today everything is so instant. I love the fact that I simply tend and try to create the best situations I can for the plants that bear us their fruit. It doesn’t happen instantly and, to be honest, they’re the creatures of wonder! They do the growing! We just try our best to create the space. If we do a half-arsed job, it will produce half-arsed results—pretty pics are nice, but not my full reality. Growing food is being very present, not fluffing up the clouds.(sometimes I do get frustrated with timing though, it’s true!).
So, connection with ourselves and the earth, but also with people. I’m so grateful that we are plonked right in the middle of Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens (MAFG). We are next to the apricots and the nursery, which Katie’s Dad and Sas look after. There’s other energy around, fingers crossed some more enterprises might join the property in the future too. Its great! The connection we have when we deliver to people who are astounded by the quality and freshness of our humble produce is connection, and with our boxes we will have connection with even more people like ourselves who need to eat to survive. The connection thing is linked for me to community.
Here is an interesting quote which resonates well with me:
“Agrarianism” refers to certain schools of thought and forms of life which regard farming and related vocations as exceptional in that farmers are independent, self-sufficient, and self-determining and work in step with nature, the local ecology, the seasons, etc. Independent yet attuned to their ecological setting, agrarian farmers think and act holistically. Working in and with nature, agrarian farmers view themselves as stewards of their ecological setting and who keep an eye on the environmental health of the area…The agrarian life is built on trust, neighbourliness, and cooperation, unlike the alienation and distrust of city life.
Dwelling in stable communities, rural agrarians nurture a sense of personal identity that is rooted in place and local history and color. Moreover,
Agrarianism regards tilling the soil, cultivating crops, raising livestock, producing food stuffs, etc., as transformative toils and virtueengendering
-Definition of “agriarianism” in the Springer Encyclopedia of Food and Agriculture Ethics
At the end of the day, I believe we will need to work together outside of the system that currently exists. We need to create our own systems which build resilient and empathetic communities. This is what Sas and I are endeavouring to do with our tiny wee patch in the supportive community in which we live in our little place in the world.
So cheers! And so here’s to creating our own realities as much as we are able!
P.S. Here is a link to an interesting article about post-capitalism that a fellow farmer shared this week. Thanks Joel from Future Feeders up in Northern NSW.