A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, the interest of the farm's customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- it's everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism. The tragedy of our time is that cultural philosophies and market realities are squeezing life's vitality out of most farms. And that is why the average farmer is now 60 years old. Serfdom just doesn't attract the best and brightest.
A farm regulated to production of raw commodities is not a farm at all. It is a temporary blip until the land is used up, the water polluted, the neighbors nauseated, and the air unbreathable. The farmhouse, the concrete, the machinery, and outbuildings become relics of a bygone vibrancy when another family farm moves to the city financial centers for relief.
A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, Where is the salsa tree? They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches. Oh my. What do they put on SAT tests to measure this? Does anybody care? How little can a person know about food and still make educated decisions about it? Is this knowledge going to change before they enter the voting booth? Now that's a scary thought.
Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the center of an education.
Awake! arise! the hour is late! Angels are knocking at thy door!They are in haste and cannot wait, And once departed come no more.Awake! arise! the athlete's arm Loses its strength by too much rest;The fallow land, the untilled farm Produces only weeds at best.
I do not particularly like the word 'work.' Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.
As Gill says, every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist. The small family farm is one of the last places - they are getting rarer every day - where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the maker - and some farmers still do talk about making the crops - is responsible, from start to finish, for the thing made. This certainly is a spiritual value, but it is not for that reason an impractical or uneconomic one. In fact, from the exercise of this responsibility, this giving of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, the farm, the consumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most practical ways: They gain the means of life, the goodness of food, and the longevity and dependability of the sources of food, both natural and cultural. The proper answer to the spiritual calling becomes, in turn, the proper fulfillment of physical need.
I would not say I am looking for God. Or, I am not looking for God precisely. I am not seeking the God I learned about as a Catholic child, as an 18-year-old novice in a religious community, as an agnostic graduate student, as - but who cares about my disguises? Or God's.
What to wear on a Minnesota farm? The older farmers I know wear brown polyester jumpsuits, like factory workers. The younger ones wear jeans, but the forecast was for ninety-five degrees with heavy humidity. The wardrobe of Quaker ladies in their middle years runs to denim skirts and hiking boots. This outfit had worked fine for me in England. But one of my jobs in Minnesota will be to climb onto the industrial cuisinart in the hay barn and mix fifty-pound bags of nutritional supplement and corn into blades as big as my body. Getting a skirt caught in that thing would be bad news for Betty Crocker.
Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the welder, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.
...no matter how rhapsodic one waxes about the process of wresting edible plants and tamed animals from the sprawling vagaries of nature, there's a timeless, unwavering truth espoused by those who worked the land for ages: no matter how responsible agriculture is, it is essentially about achieving the lesser of evils. To work the land is to change the land, to shape it to benefit one species over another, and thus necessarily to tame what is wild. Our task should be to deliver our blows gently.
Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: Love. They must do it for love. Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.
The same teen who can't legally operate a four-wheeler, or [ATV]...in a farm lane workplace environment can operate a jacked-up F-250 pickup on a crowded urban expressway. By denying these [farm work] opportunities to bring value to their own lives and the community around them, we've relegated our young adults to teenage foolishness. Then as a culture we walk around shaking our heads in bewilderment at these young people with retarded maturity. Never in life do people have as much energy as in their teens, and to criminalize leveraging it is certainly one of our nation's greatest resource blunders.
The way Mom saw it, women should let menfolk do the work because it made them feel more manly. That notion only made sense if you had a strong man willing to step up and get things done, and between Dad's gimp, Buster's elaborate excuses, and Apache's tendency to disappear, it was often up to me to keep the place from falling apart. But even when everyone was pitching in, we never got out from under all the work. I loved that ranch, though sometimes it did seem that instead of us owning the place, the place owned us.
A determined Yankee book drummer once told a Southerner that 'a set of books on scientific agriculture' would teach him to 'farm twice as good as you do.' To which the Southerner replied: 'Hell, son, I don't farm half as good as I know how now.
There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.
This whole effort to rebuild and stabilize a countryside is not without its disappointments and mistakes... What matter though these temporary growing pains when one can cast his eye upon the hills and see hard-boiled farmers who have spent their lives destroying land now carrying water by hand to their new plantations
Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature's pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end.
When Geoffrey was away, the goat often took himself off. He had soon got the goats at Granny’s cottage doing his bidding, and Nanny Ogg said once that she had seen what she called ‘that devil goat’ sitting in the middle of a circle of feral goats up in the hills. She named him ‘The Mince of Darkness’ because of his small and twinkling hooves, and added, ‘Not that I don’t like him, stinky as he is. I’ve always been one for the horns, as you might say. Goats is clever. Sheep ain’t. No offence, my dear.
There are only two reasons to farm: because you have to, and because you love to. The ones who choose to farm choose for love.
Fast rather than slow, more rather than less--this flashy development is linked directly to society's impending collapse. It has only served to separate man from nature. Humanity must stop indulging the desire for material possessions and personal gain and move instead toward spiritual awareness.Agriculture must change from large mechanical operations to small farms attached only to life itself. Material life and diet should be given a simple place. If this is done, work becomes pleasant, and spiritual breathing space becomes plentiful.
Before researchers become researchers they should become philosophers. They should consider what the human goal is, what it is that humanity should create.Doctors should first determine at the fundamental level what it is that human beings depend on for life...Modern scientific agriculture, on the other hand, has no such vision. Research wanders about aimlessly, each researcher seeing just one part of the infinite array of natural factors which affect harvest yields.Even though it is the same quarter acre, the farmer must grow his crops differently each year in accordance with variations in weather, insect populations, the condition of the soil, and many other natural factors. Nature is everywhere in perpetual motion; conditions are never exactly the same in any two years.Modern research divides nature into tiny pieces and conducts tests that conform neither with natural law nor with practical experiences. The results are arranged for the convenience of research, not according to the needs of the farmer.
It's not the deprivations of winter that get you, or the damp of spring, but the no-man's land between.
Check your environment and be sure that it is supportive. Some environments do not support progress. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not fertile lands for a farmer’s dream seeds. Change location.
Not every environment accepts the dream shaping progress you want to put across. Take a second look at what you dream about, be sure it can progress very well where you are; Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not fertile grounds for a farmer’s dream seeds. Go and relocate!
Life on the farm had fed his soul since he was a child. he was ever grateful to Gott for giving him a chance to work the land and live by the seasons. It was a good life...but a lonely one for a man his age, a man too old to be living with his family.
Through my history's despiteand ruin, I have cometo its remainder, and herehave made the beginningof a farm intended to becomemy art of being here.By it I would instructmy wants: they should belongto each other and to this place.Until my song comes hereto learn its words, my artis but the hope of song.(Part 2 from History is Clearing, p 174)
A farmer, as one of his farmer correspondents once wrote to Liberty Hyde Bailey, is a dispenser of the 'Mysteries of God.'The husband, unlike the manager or the would-be objective scientist, belongs inherently to the complexity and the mystery that is to be husbanded, and so the husbanding mind is both careful and humble.
Ellis,” he said. “You’re watchin’ a miracle right under your nose.” He gave a few of the seeds to Ellis and let him drop them into the hole he had already made. “In each of them little things, God put life. Now you take care with it, and you feed it with water and sunlight. And, most important of all of ’em, put it in good ground, and that life is gonna sprout right out.
Someone told me once, ‘It’s time to get you a pair of overalls, boy.’ But I don’t believe in summing up nothin’ – I let my experiences speak for themselves – and even if I did, a synopsis should be singular. That’s why every time I go out to work in the fields, I work naked. It lets my neighbors speak of my experiences for me.
Why does no one speak of the cultural advantages of the country? For example, is a well groomed, ecologically kept, sustainably fertile farm any less cultural, any less artful, than paintings of fat angels on church ceilings?
I could go to a dozen houses, scrape away the dirt, and find his footprints, but my own prints evaporated before I ever looked back.
The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.