We're in a free-fall at the moment. It's been a steady slide all spring, some bumps and dips. We even caught some air here and there along the way. As the fields continue to need preparing and planting, beds need weeding and tending, and irrigation becomes a full-time concern, we are now also harvesting every day of the week. All of which, in all its glory and beauty, means a complete free-fall into summer. If all goes right, we'll land on a bed of pillowy kale, shake off and try to remember what clouds look like, and just keep rolling.Read More
Community. It's an overused, misunderstood, idealistic idea. I use it all the time in my orientation tours for groups at the farm, mentioning "the community" as if it's a concrete group of people. Or on social media, thanking "the community" for its support of our plant sales and farm stands. We talk about it as part of our organizational values, emphasizing that everyone is included and welcome in the work we do. Back when I first starting organic farming at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, Oregon, I was doing interviews with staff and surveys of Community Supported Agriculture members for an independent study in school, and asked the owners what they thought about "community". For all the talk of inclusiveness and outreach toward consumers in this food movement, what they said really stuck with me: "If people talk about the community, it really is the group of us working." Small farms do so much work to try to include customers and families to feel "part of the farm," but the real connections come from working hard together.
On Saturday, a new community started to form as the youth farmer crew started their first day of work. Most arrived early and huddled near the tool shed, labelling their cubbies and making nervous small talk. A few friendly words exchanged among strangers. Step one.Read More