Transforming the food system in the cilantro bed

We got to talking. Over cutting salad mix, about families and efficiency.  Over sorting carrots, about Sloppy Joe's and imperfect produce.  We got to talking about all kinds of things on our feed walk in the afternoon: timing of flame weeding, pruning and grafting tomatoes, the farm's weed "seed bank."  I often have trouble fully listening and conversing when I'm working with my hands-- I tend to focus on the carrots.  Over bunching cilantro way out in the corner of the farm, though, one conversation pulled me deep in.

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Stretching with the crew

"How about, what store do you shop at?"  Everyone hesitates and looks around.  I know there's going to be questions like this.  Do you like red or green apples better?  What time do you wake up every day?  But not today, so early in the season.  "Come on, how about something a little deeper?" I step in.  "Just a little?"  Eventually someone suggests talking about what we've learned and how we've grown over this past school year for the morning stretching circle talk, and we begin.

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The Why

The Why

I'm thinking about questions.  How I think of them, how I ask them, how I answer them for others, how I receive answers from others.  After eating my lunch, I strolled around the orchard for a few minutes instead of diving straight back into work.  Yesterday, driving the tractor slowly back and forth across the edge of the first field, I had noticed that the large plum trees hovering over me were nearly bare of fruit.  It stuck in my memory.  I was refreshed from eating and lying down a minute, my mind was at ease with my goals for the rest of the day, and I gave myself time to investigate. 

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All the questions

All the questions

Then there are the questions that I know the answers to, but they're in fuzzy areas that are hard to describe.  How full should these three-inch pots be?  How much yellow can a spinach leaf have on it and still be okay to send to the food bank?  How deep should we plant these onion sets?  The answers to these types of questions are, after two years on this farm and many more in farming, clear and obvious to my hands and sight.  They take a certain feel, a Goldie Locks-style homing in to the perfect medium, and a quick confidence to judge what's within the limits.  It's been a struggle for me to answer questions like this, but I'm getting better. 

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