repost – rye, vetch and fava

Continuing with reposts from the original blog, here’s one I made just before leaving Sauvie Island Organics and starting Slow Hand Farm.  It’s all still true and it connects with something I was reading last night in Fukuoka’s “One Straw Revolution.”  In his chapter “Toward a Do-Nothing Farming” Fukuoka says, ” The usual way to go about developing a method is to ask “How about trying this?” or “How about trying that?” bringing in a variety of techniques one upon the other.”  When I talk about farming bringing me a little understanding of how we got where we are today, it’s that layering that I’m talking about.

Fukuoka goes on to explain his approach, which is to ask “How about not doing this? How about not doing that?… Human being with their tampering do something wrong, leave the damage unprepared, and when the adverse results accumulate, work with all of their might to correct them.  When their corrective actions appear to be successful, they come to view these measures as splendid accomplishments.”

rye, vetch and fava

rye, vetch and fava – November 21, 2007

    It’s kind of nice to just sit here and write a little.  I’ve had a lot of ideas lately about farming, food, what I want to do.  I guess that’s where thinking about the next step will get you.  With an imminent departure from the farm, that’s kind of where I’m at right now.  Most of my spare time is going to putting together numbers, trying to make crop plans work, trying to write a business plan that makes sense – oh, and trying to find a little paying work as well for the near future.  What a lesson in business though.

Farming has been an incredible teacher for me.  I feel like I’ve gone through a course in the evolution of civilization that brings me a little understanding of how we got where we are today.  Maybe this was all obvious to most of you by the time you made it out of school but I feel like I’m just starting to understand.

After spending the summer putting together little structures around the farm, the incredible details of architecture and the evolution of buildings makes a lot more sense.  After spending years producing vegetables on a small scale and looking at improving efficiencies, large scale agriculture, even the decisions that lead to conventional agriculture makes more sense.  Trying to put together a business plan for a new farm enterprise makes business, the world of finance, and lawyers make a lot more sense to me.

It all makes more sense how we’ve gotten here, but it doesn’t make me feel like this was necessarily the best path.  It’s the place we’re at, so I’ll take it as it is, but there sure are a lot of improvements that could be made.  I see decisions that have been made, and reasons why they were made, but I also see the problems that have come out of those decisions and conditions and pitfalls that were ignored along the way.

My life is probably just like that, maybe everyones is but like I said, I’m just figuring these things out now.  I’m trying to make the best decisions, predict the future by looking at the present and past and seeing what worked.  With a little luck this rye, vetch and fava that has come up beautifully on the farm will, make it through the winter and  provide the fertility for next season’s crop.

repost: A Year After Terra Madre

This was the first blog post when I put up the old blog on October 14, 2007. It also kicks off the start of reposts from that blog, now almost six years after my Terra Madre experience. I’m still in touch with a few of those folks, and I get asked at least once a year when I’m coming back to visit Italy.  I hope it will be some day soon.

Terra Madre Banner

A Year After Terra Madre – October 14, 2007

Lets start this off with a short little reminiscence of last year’s gathering in Turin – a really incredible, positive experience for me.  A year later I’m still thinking about the experience, trying to understand the larger importance of what happened there.

    What I remember most from Terra Madre are the people I spent every evening with at dinner, the people I sat on the bus with after breakfast, and the food.  I suppose it kind of makes sense, I mean after all, wasn’t that what it was about, people and food?  Not only people and food but the communities created around people and food, the ability of food to bring people together, all that is positive and good about food in the world today.  That’s really it.

Everyone eats, and everyone is eating food.  Not all food is equal though, and not everyone is eating good food.  But everyone should be eating good food, I mean food that is produced well, food that is healthy to eat from a nutrition perspective, from a social justice perspective, from an environmental perspective.  Food like that brings people together, it doesn’t create problems, it relieves them.  All food should be that good.  Maybe by trying to produce food like that, by promoting food like that, there can be more events like Terra Madre where people come together, where countries come together to celebrate diversity.  I’m sure that my experience there, my little corner of Terra Madre where a small group of us got together and enjoyed good food and good company, was just a reflection of the larger event, and a reflection of what the world could be if we all ate more “good” food.

(update 2/21/2014) I should have put up links to my original trip report. I’m not sure why they didn’t make it in the first time but here they are now (rather big pdfs).

Hello world!

Pretty soon I’ll be up and running here.  First up will be revisiting the old posts from the original website which has now changed.  There was some good material there and I’ll make sure to bring it back and update where necessary.