My farming father would have been amazed at my son Jesse and his wife Lisa, of First Light Farm! He farmed all his life and loved the land. Community was a given in small town farm life, taken for granted. But with the advent of agribusiness practices, small farms went out of business and community deteriorated . None of us considered that any of our children would farm. Certainly I didn’t! So when Jesse told me he wanted to be a farmer, I too was amazed!
But it is also such different farming! Young farmers want to grow food, organic food, and to supply that food to the local population. And they talk about community, something that they do not take for granted. Community is part of their business plan!
On Saturday I had the good fortune to observe First Light Farm’s first CSA workday as I offer samples of our honey lavender limeade at First Light Farm Store. More than half a ton of potatoes were harvested that morning. Jesse was packing boxes of beautiful potatoes into the cooler as I arrived. (Any of you who are subscribers will get the benefits of their labor!) Three young boys were recruiting anyone who walked up! and then all enjoyed a farm tour. Jesse and Lisa were busy organizing workers, leading the tour, and then organizing the lunch that followed.
It is definitely different from how I grew up but there are similarities too. Our community was organized around churches. June always had a Stewardship Sunday in which we honored our sacred task. Honoring the sacred is true for these young people too, whose sign in the farm stand says it all: We are working with these wild and free beings… I see myself as a translator, taking this product and letting it be itself (Donielle Allion Strawn, Chica Bloom).
This is what Big Ag lacks: a reverence for life. Community and the sacred are such important elements in the growing of the food we take into our bodies. Both change us.