In any movement work there are certain topics of conversation that come up easily and therefore regularly. What can happen is a looping around those few things that in the moment make us feel as if we’ve found a solution towards progress when it might be no more than a flash in the pan of centuries of work.
That’s why it is vitally important, while excruciatingly slow, to dig deep into history through wise mentors, untold stories, and overlooked common sense. Listening to where you join in to the movement, combined with voices from the past keeps us open to this fruitful work.
That’s something Nathan and I took very seriously about a decade ago as we made the decision that the realities of full-time farming would place us into that deep work more efficiently than a focus on growing methods, consumer trends, funding, or even organizing.
We respect those things, but find silence in the field and listening to those who aren’t always heard of value to movement that sticks. A willingness to become irrelevant in one area opens up space for the relevancy of what’s so often lost.
An overwhelming goodness has come alongside this work for our family. A small food system built on what we can grow that matches the diversity of our community. We’ve prioritized our time and the time of others. We’ve set down image and ego, as needed, to do what we intuitively know is right. We’ve built capacity and security to the food we grow and the weekly availability of locally grown food based on cooking methods and a consumers free will.
I’ve been calling this below the movement concept “farmer choice”, but it’s equally built by the food buyers who apply the reality of what we grow to the cooking techniques or distribution methods they use week after week, year round.
We hope to create something that can be passed onto the next generation for them to make even better.
I’ll be briefly speaking on relationships and farmers choice as innovation at the OAKS 2020 conference on Saturday March 7th and would love to carry on this conversation with anyone who is interested.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist