Writing reflective blog posts can be a little tedious. In the past farming seasons seemed to fly by me, scorching along at record paces and leaving little time for reflection. Nowadays, with a more reasonable amount of help in the ordeal I find that I can take in more of the goings on through the calendar. Also, thanks to Mindy teaching me Mindfulness practices, I am present for at least some of the time.
Occasionally I have the opportunity to teach. I some times am invited to speak at Organic Farming or Landscaping Conferences on subjects ranging from “How to Grow Brassicas” to “Understanding the Soil Food Web” and so on. I also teach a four-class Course of my own design on Soils, Plant Biology, and Organic Farming Methods every spring. I love teaching in no small part because of it’s ability to bring me totally into the present moment.
When farming I have a To-Do List a mile long. I have a binder full of scheduled appointments (seeding, marketing, etc) two-inches thick. When organizing a job for myself and/or members of my crew I have to consider the next job that follows and usually one or two more related tasks to that one we are embarking on in the present. With a crew of several employees and sometimes as many as a dozen volunteers to manage I often have to make arrangements like this two or three or four times at once. So if you do the math that can be as many as twelve different steps that have to be considered and anticipated all at the same time. A memo pad in my back pocket is how I accomplish this. But, as you might be able to imagine, it can be very distracting to juggle all these things and can lead to a perpetual mindlessness, always a step or two ahead of where you are presently.
Teaching allows for focus on the topic at hand. The way I like to teach is by a general presentation of the material followed by an insistence on questions. I often will not move on from a topic until I get one or two questions from the crowd. This brings both the students (at least the ones interested in the question) fully to the present and forces me to engage with their perspective, bringing me fully to present. I like this a lot. It is the most present-minded I can be easily. Otherwise it takes work. Anyone who has tried to maintain mindfulness knows how incredibly difficult it is. A lot can be learned from a mild Psilocybin trip due to the chemicals insistence on your attention to the beauty and majesty of the world around you. Teaching is a natural way for me to reach this point.n
Being more involved in teaching and learning has been a goal of mine for many years. I have attempted to bring college students to the farm and compensate them with work-study hours in return for hours spent on farm research projects. In 2019 I am hoping to go a step further and do something a bit more formal that helps expand my understanding of soil science, plant biology, and organic farming. We’ll see how well I can balance that with all the demands of the farming season which can get more and more complicated every year. More emphasis on streamlining will continue as we work towards a simple model that results in vigorous, productive soil and excellent crops for ourselves and our customers.
Another Summer/Fall CSA season is wrapping up. We are, as always, incredibly grateful for the support of our CSA members. Some of you have truly become friends and family. Many of you have expressed the satisfaction the CSA brings to your lives. Nothing is more rewarding then hearing about young children being raised on our vegetables, or about how fresh vegetables brought into people’s diets has improved the quality of their lives. We are so touched to be able to be a part of people’s sustenance and to reunite people with what food is supposed to be.
We are looking forward to serving many of you this Winter and many of you the following Spring/Fall season. We wish you all a safe, fun, productive and/or restful winter. Please share your thoughts with us over the off season. We do much planning in the winter time so if you have any ideas for next year now is the time to let us know.