I hope you got to spend some time outdoors yesterday if you live nearby – it was gorgeous. I was out in a sweater all afternoon!
We had our last CRAFT day ever last Wednesday. Whole Circle hosted us. Whole Circle was the first non-industrial farm I ever visited, back in the days of organic ag class at school. I remember being taken in by the scenic farm landscape, Johann’s obvious passion for his work (so different than the often detached, unemphatic farmers I met prior) and reverence for natural rhythms and cycles. These things still appeal to me.
As our work project for part of the afternoon we split into small groups and shucked garlic to prepare it to be planted. In our circle people were talking about their future plans and why they wanted to farm. Someone half-joked that their reason was to stick it to the man. We talked further about it, most of us having similar feelings.
beautiful carrots! no chemicals needed!
For me, and for many of us it seems, much of the appeal is in being more self-sufficient. We can eat the food we grow, but we can’t eat the money we make. We can farm without using expensive tools and machinery and without destroying the earth and our own health. In spite of being told so often, in so many facets of our lives, that there is but one acceptable way to live – whether that means measuring success by the number on our bank balance or the bathroom scale, by how many objects we possess, defining our lives by income or profession instead of what we enjoy and who we love, basing our relationships on what’s expected instead of what we need and want, and not trusting our own creativity and problem solving skills – we know that there is no one superior lifestyle. Living more separately from destructive and stressful lifestyles (consumerism, for instance) by eliminating the ‘middle man’ that is money, and instead directly providing for oneself and one another, makes sense. Of course, money is never going to be totally absent in a society like this one. But reducing the need for a higher income (and so reducing stress), relying less on money, and connecting with the natural world (and each other!) in positive, constructive ways make for a far happier life than I could envision for myself otherwise.
Anyway, tangents and rants aside, the trend I’m noticing is that many people aren’t content with the typical north american lifestyle of working 5 days a week in an unsatisfying job to support a family they never see as they struggle to get out of debt. This was certainly a trend in our circle of young farmers shucking garlic. People are noticing that the current system isn’t working for everyone, and people are figuring out how to thrive in other ways, happy and fulfilled.