Still Learning To See

So well said…

…I don’t feel the need to even try saying it again in some other way. Thank you to my friend, Kate Spring, for this beautifully written piece that so perfectly speaks to both the events of last week and the bigger issues that spawned them. I appreciate her letting me share this here and, if you want more of the fabulous young writer/farmer/mother/human being, go to her site here. And, in fact, she and her husband are great, local, organic farmers as demonstrated recently in a long story about growing microgreens by Margaret Roach in the New York Times which you can read here.

Thank you Kate for these wise words.

WE THOUGHT IT WASN’T OKAY TO BE POLITICAL AS A BUSINESS. BUT WE HAVE TO SAY THIS.

sunflowers and a cloudy sky

THE DAY JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS WON THE ELECTION, I WROTE THIS:

I used to think it wasn’t okay to be “political” as a business. I didn’t want to offend anyone (read: I was scared of being judged).

But the truth is, organic farming is political.

Under the outgoing administration, organic standards have been attacked and reduced, and most recently the organic cost-sharing program was suddenly cut from 75% to 50% even though the bi-partisan Farm Bill directed otherwise. And that’s nothing compared to the structural inequalities and discrimination BIPOC farmers face.

The politics of food has serious implications for everyone who eats.  How we feed ourselves and each other matters. How we tend to the land matters.

Today we celebrate how the seeds we sowed, the postcards we sent, the calls we made, the money we donated — it’s all come to fruition.

There is so much work to be done, and we’re here to be part of growing change. Here’s to the work ahead: to equity and equality, to environmental action, to growing a world that nourishes our hearts as well as our bodies, from soil to soul.

NOW, IN THE WAKE OF AN INSURRECTION LED BY WHITE SUPREMACISTS, THE AMOUNT OF WORK IS LAID BARE ONCE AGAIN.  

As organic farmers, we see quite literally how everything is connected.  From earthworms to fungi to soil to water to plants to us to you — food connects us.  How we produce food affects the environment.  How food is accessed (or not) affects individuals and communities.  

We also see everyday how resilient, healthy farming systems grow from diversity.  How carrots and tomatoes help each other grow stronger.  How monocultures can only survive when propped up by herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, which in the end lead to degradation.

ORGANIC FARMING ISN’T SO DIFFERENT FROM DEMOCRACY.  

It works when we create connections, tend to those connections, and show up again and again to reach the harvest together.  It works when voting is accessible by all.  

It works when we’re willing to look deeply at the places where pain has been inflicted, to listen to those who carry that pain, and to do the work of composting grief and violence and injustice into recognition, healing, and justice.  

In the spectrum of farming, industrial agriculture is the opposite of organic, trading polyculture for monoculture, cutting away diversity to make way for acres and acres of the same crop in the name of efficiency.  

White supremacy is the monoculture of society: promising to feed the world, but degrading it instead.  Promising high yields as it pollutes entire ecosystems.  

Even as I write this, I can hear the whispers of white supremacy culture telling me why I shouldn’t share these words.  That I will surely offend someone and that offense will harm my business.  That I should just stick to farming so I don’t lose my audience.  That what I’m wanting to say will not come out cleanly, and will hurt those I want to help.  

What use is a voice if it’s not spoken? 

What use is an audience if I don’t write? 

What use is this farm and our mission to make local food accessible if we’re not willing to look clearly at the systems that have brought us to this moment? 

Systems that reinforce and depend on the inequality that we purport to fight.

The ideal of perfection and getting it right before we say anything is another weight of supremacy that works to keep us from speaking and trying.  

BUT THE TRUTH IS THIS:

We are better because of each other.  We thrive when we support each other.  

So at Good Heart Farmstead, we will continue to write postcards and make phone calls to voters and elected officials.  We will continue to use our voices.  We will continue to learn how we can do better.  We will continue to show up over and over again, even when it feels like it’s not enough.  

Because everyday, seeds prove to us that size does not predict impact.

The world we are growing towards is one of equity and equality.  One where white supremacy falls and gives way to antiracism, respect, and love — a beloved community.

Just last week seeds arrived in the mail.  

A year’s worth of harvests in two cardboard boxes.  Imagine.  Imagine all that will grow when we tuck them into soil, when we water them, when we tend to them day by day, season by season.  So many mouths will be fed.  So many hearts will be filled.

Thank you for being part of this growth.

This entry was published on January 14, 2021 at 6:35 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “So well said…

  1. Michael Sherman on said:

    Bravo Kate,

    Please pass this to her.

    M

  2. This is wonderful, John–please thank her for me. Like Wendell Berry, she knows that loving and working the land also makes a person a truth-teller. I hope she sends this to every newspaper possible! Thanks so much for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: