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.