Thursday, April 1, 2010


First! Upcoming and exciting events!

Saturday April 10th
Steve's Open Hand Farm Crop Mob! Work Party, refreshments, complimentary lettuce starts, fun for all!

Saturday April 17th
Wendy's Dragon's Bend Coastal Plant Sale!
"organically grown plants for sale in Muir Beach. 1795 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach. 10am - 3pm."

Sunday April 25th
The Greenhorns and the Green String Farm Band present the Young Farmers Mixer!
More Info to come...

Saturday May 22nd
Volunteer Day at Indian Valley Farm!
Spread the word!

There's a lot of talk about upcoming gatherings. Ideas are blooming, the future is blossoming, and all the while we're drawing on the strength we find in our ancestral roots. Through our teachers, knowledge transcends time and is reborn through renewed perspective. A conglomeration of everything our teachers have learned, from every teacher they've been taught by, is transferred to us, and is transferred through us when we teach to others.

Today as we dreamt of the future, we touched the past too; we watched a video called "Garden Song" about Alan Chadwick, Wendy's mentor. It's fascinating to trace the lineage of knowledge in this way, to get a glimpse of the man who we owe many thanks to. Would this class exist if it weren't for him and his teacher's before him? Alan Chadwick's lessons were captured only in part. He never wanted to be recorded or filmed. I think he valued the nature of personal experience and impromptu interaction; he was a man of the theater, after all. Nonetheless, this small glimpse was enlightening. He used what is called the Biodynamic French Intensive method. It's said to feed 15 people per acre, in comparison to the 4-person yield in one American farm acre. It's time intensive but more efficient. There are predictions in that movie about the future, how in the year 2000 there will be 1/3 of the land available for agriculture. It was a call for change then, and there's a call for change now. We've got to take a well rounded approach to stability and sustainability. This kind of approach calls for a closeness to all sides of an issue, all directions within and outlining and beyond the garden plot.

Steve drew up a cool lesson on the importance of the space between the plots. The ruts are "areas of discontinuity," where life happens. Where would we be without these borders between realms, markings of integration and separation? Lines of segregation shock the system, causing our perspective to shift to include a new set of details, yet keeping us in balance at the same time. The ruts can be utilized, working not just as a pathway between the farmed land, but also as an air conditioner, oriented to work in conjunction with coastal winds to cool and cleanse the rows. The ruts are an example of how to integrate the elements with a garden plan, taking into account the need for moisture in the earth, as well as the need for drying out and soaking up the sun. The fire, the earth, the wind, and the water all shape a specific place, the plants create microclimates under the shade of their leaves. Learning and knowing the delicacies of the land we work with helps us give and receive the most.

Yet again, our class took place right in between a pelting of rain. As I write this entry, I wonder about the brassicas that we planted today.  Hopefully, our carefully planted rows of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower will withstand the powerful storms and flourish in their new home. I brought home some starts for myself and got to work in my own garden a bit before the storm passed over again. I can wait to plant those suckers in and watch em' take hold of the juicy land that's waiting for them. I salvaged a pea plant from the farm last week, which is awaiting its transplant as well. All is well. The rain is wonderful. Have fun, take the time for yourself to laugh, be foolish, and enjoy spring.

In light of the immense power of this stormy weather, in honor of Mister Chadwick, and of course for this auspicious April First:
"We play the fools with the time, and the
spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us." -Shakespeare, Henry IV
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man doth know himself to be a fool." -As You Like It

A good farmer makes a partnership with the earth and acknowledges that nothing can control the force of nature. It is foolish to work against the natural forces, but to understand our place as partners in the earth's mutualistic balance is the key to harnessing the abundance of these forces. Work with the earth to enhance its power and your garden will flourish!

Homework assignment:
If you've haven't already, write about what the growth of one edible plant does for you and for the world,
Also, write one page about the teachers who have influenced and inspired you.

1 comment:

  1. More on Crob Mobs from the NYTimes: