There can be no doubt that spring has arrived on the farm! There is so much food already growing (see picture above plus more on our facebook page), and we are planting almost 20,000 new plants this week. Onions, garlic, spinach, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi are a few of the items that are sprouted and growing right now.
When I walk around to take photos of the plants that are growing, I begin to experience an awakening of my sense of purpose. When I was much younger and growing my urban gardens, I felt a personal connection to the land that I was working. I still do. It calls for me to set my roots into it and draw nourishment to fuel that which I must do. Through my senses, I experience nature, realizing that I am not separate of it, but rather another element of it. It is the natural world that speaks to me and reminds me of my purpose. I cannot ignore it. I must grow food, not only for myself and my family, but for my community.
There is nothing more satisfying nor more authentic than when one finds purpose and meaning. When I see an old burr oak tree growing in the middle of a field, I think to myself that it is there because it is fulfilling its destiny. Burr oak trees can grow very old, hundreds of years, and I see them growing on fence lines all around here. Sometimes farmers literally farm around them, leaving them in the middle of a field. I think when we recognize that something has purpose, it seems to be in the right place, even if, as in the case of a field where trees do not belong, it is not what we would expect. I am such an anomaly.
I don’t really belong farming, except that I do. I am not the most gifted mechanic, and while I know enough about growing food on large scales, I have so much more to learn. I am over 50 years old. I am supposed to be thinking about retiring on a beach somewhere, except that I am not. I am supposed to be slowing down, except I am not. Farming is a financially losing endeavor, and yet, I can’t stop doing it. The reason is simple, I am a farmer and because of that simple fact, I must farm. That may sound circular, but it is not. Just as musician must create music, or doctor must heal, we are truest to ourselves when we are what we are supposed to be. I am fortunate. I farm, therefore, I am.
With so much work ahead of me and the rest of the team out here, the season can seem daunting. I am not afraid, though. Each day, I will choose to put one foot in front of the other, moving forward with purpose. Songbirds will sing their songs of summer, bees will pollinate the flowers, and I will farm. After all, I did not choose to farm. I simply have chosen to be me.