That’s what farming is. It’s organizing and balancing the most unpredictable and least understood of phenomenons. Life.
Soil life, plant life, our lives. Why do we exist? Why are we here? Now and not a 100 years ago or 100 years in the future? How did a bizarre combo of star dust turn into the Earth and some fish creature crawled out of the soupy water and eventually we appeared? If you need to go to Church, Ceremony, Meditation after that paragraph, I feel ya.
I don’t know, this is just one of the many extensional crisis I encounter weekly. I don’t blame people for numbing out on all the chaos of the world. There’s a lot of horrible things happening, there’s also a lot of beautiful events and creatures. I just happened to put myself into a profession where I constantly butt up against these ideas of sustainability, stewardship, service, domestication, controlling and calculating future yields.
It’s the hardest thing to try to capitalize, calculate crop yields and control growing conditions of plants, animals and weather that will do what they want. I always return to the old adage of “Best-laid plans”. I am constantly trying to build and reinforce the farms business foundations and that can lead to non-stop work and stress. Every time I tell myself that all I am doing is managing chaos and laying the best plans I can I get a nice deep breath in me and go for a walk. Farming has meant a LOT more time in front of the screen filling in spread sheets of contacts, crop plans, soil amendment calculators, finances, e-mails, etc. I’ve been creating so many bureaucratically documents, hashing out so many plans, attending so many events, taking so many classes! At least it all comes with a wonderful community!!!
I am jaw dropping, blow away and appreciative of the community I have meet since I became a farmer. I used to think I wasn’t a hugger… turns out I just never found myself surrounded by people who I wanted to hug, who made me feel comfortable with my complex mixed up emotions. I can get angry about fossil fuels and oil companies and I can drive my car, buy plastic silage tarps and keep trudging on. No one really knows how to best tackle the problems we face today in our world. But we make the best decisions, make the necessary compromises and I grow local, fresh, nutritious foods for you all while also paying rent and reconnecting with my Sinixt ancestors. I can’t express how grateful I am. I am sure I usually come off stressed, but honestly when I am out in the fields transplanting, seeding, weeding and I know exactly when the Junco’s come flying through the brassica beds, you know I am happy. I couldn’t think of anything better to do that to speak to those silly birds in Sinixt as I keep plugging along getting the work done with the best of intentions.
And that’s just it. I can’t fully change the system in which I live in my lifetime. But I can relearn a worldview that capitalism tried to snuff out. I can bring the best of intentions, to feed my community good food and look after land the best I can, and suddenly the mundane is sacred. Sometimes the sacred is pronounced and obvious, sometimes it’s the meditative state at which I weed or the presence in which I show up to a conversation, even logistics. I try to bring the ancestors with me everywhere, admire the world, wonder at the world and worry less about the future, stress out less about the logistics, and seek out less definitive answers. Because everything is still just as murky at the primordial soup. We just have hummingbirds to speak to and Nootka roses to smell (and eat!)
Your Farmer Michelle