Sunday, March 21, 2010

Celebrating Spring

It was a beautiful day outside, I hope everyone had a chance to get out there and enjoy it!After spending the day in Point Reyes with Pam Pierce, reflecting on the week and what I learned in class on Wednesday, to a day of hiking through lush green meadows beaming with wildflowers, I am filled with gratitude to live in Marin County. Here we are celebrating the Equinox and a new moon, a time of fertility.

The seeds sown in the green house are really beginning to take off! By this time next month, beds will be beaming with spinach, arugula and lettuce, we should have a developing herb garden with parsley, chives, rosemary and chervil, and we’ll be able to harvest peas, rutabagas, carrots, rainbow chard and kale. We’ll be planting potatoes too! Eventually, once the threat of frost recedes we will be planting all varieties of tomatoes, along with basil, summer squash, eggplant and peppers.

On Wednesday, Spencer offered the class an insightful analogy of the differences between industrial agriculture and small- scale farming. The big oak tree represented industrial farms and the small plants sitting beneath the oak tree represented small farms having endless capabilities, creating abundant opportunities for life. Steve calls this Agri- Dharma, that is the voice of truth, which is the voice of agriculture. A creative and balanced way of farming called micro-eco, gives rise to small farms that are mindful of the soil. They nurture it by re-mineralizing, bringing back microbes and by minimizing tilling. Farms that are REAL ORGANIC, are truly upholding the ideal of balance on the farm. Balancing the elements in the compost and then the soil, to the balance of plants and animals on the farm so that the cycle of fertility can begin and end without problems.

Global industrial production is beyond falling short of reaching a balance. Unfortunately, 90% of the world’s food comes from our industrial food sources. As Wendel Berry said in a essay he published in 1978 called Agricultural Solutions for Agricultural Problems, “Technology can grow to a size that is first undemocratic and then inhuman.” If we didn’t have industrial size agriculture, I suppose many people would die, but that’s because they’ve been transformed of their knowledge to grow their own food. If people relearned the time-honored ways of farming, retraining their senses and will, there wouldn’t be a need for industrial farming, with centralized and limited ownership, where decisions and actions reaffirm greed for power, over ecological stewardship and health. Growing one’s own food is a revolutionary act. For homework we are asked to write one page the benefits of planting just one tomato.

It’s all about rediscovering one’s connection to the land. I thought it was so interesting when Steve said that no new cultivars have been introduced since the industrial revolution. How is this possible? As growers we are facilitators, why is there so much of a disconnect in modern day farming? Honoring the sun, moon, elements and the planets, we’re all interconnected. Steve’s introduction into the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics was perfect way to test our brains and our abilities to adhere to our intuitions and to metaphysics. Seemingly enigmatic, I hope we will learn more about the study of energies and their effect on plants.

Check out the Organic Consumers Association:

And here is the link for the Whole Food’s/ China veggies scandal:

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