Some moments of reflection as I sit in the quiet, dark hours of the early morning, on the last day of the year.
What drew me to farming? Sometimes I like to tell myself it’s innately in me. That somehow my family’s immigration from Norway to Wisconsin in the early 19th century to farm the land, provided a genetic path. As I mull this over, it becomes clear that farming and being a steward of this beautiful earth, for me, was a very conscious choice.
My interest sparked at a young age. I spent lot of time exploring the outdoors with my parents. At summer camp I learning a basic understanding of the impacts of ort (a late middle English word for food waste). I even had a fascination with bugs and entomology, studying my collected specimens in my mason jar terrariums .
In the years that followed, I grew things. Every season presented new challenges to work through.
A new crop.
A new pest.
Thinking back to the years I have navigated working with the earth, it in some ways parallels my own life. It was a lot of trial and error. It was filled with incredibly teachable moments that lead to the need to listen to the earth and myself. It taught me to find new ways to move forward AND at the end of the day, be open to the endless possibilities. To remember past mistakes, so you don’t repeat them, but do not dwell on them as they impede your progress forward. Most importantly I learned. - The better you are to the soil and yourself, the more reward you will reap and the more resilience you will have in times of adversity.
In some ways, I like to think the more “earth literacy” you have, the more tools you have to deal with life's challenges. It provides you with a set of tools that in the past years political and social turmoil does prove quite handy. The basic understanding that all living breathing organisms have a place is crucial. Some organisms can do real damage, some bring reparation and others fall at varying places on that scale. Ignoring any of these organisms can create catastrophic results.
Understanding root causes.
Providing proper interventions.
And building on assets;
Can provide great results, both within the context of farming and community.
I think this all ties back to the conscious choice. My conscious choice to farm, to be a steward. Here at the farm 2017 was filled with successes and lots to celebrate. It also came with its new sets of challenges to navigate. Looking into 2018, I am filled with optimism, excitement and some nervousness on what lies ahead. We have many assets to build on, some challenges to better understand and lots of ways to move forward. Most importantly, it is always a learning process.
Wishing you all a 2018 in which you have the power to make a conscious choice. One that hopefully brings you rewards and resiliency, compassion and peace.