On the Farm - Climate Worry & Hope
It has been quiet, wet, and icy on the farm lately.
Our days are spent getting chores and projects done. And solidifying plans for the upcoming growing season. In the last newsletter I laid out some of our changes for 2017. Follow this link to read about them.
It's funny talking about planning for the growing season when we are actually growing vegetables now. Of course it isn’t on the same scale, but we have flats of microgreens covering tables inside and other greens outside under covers. They aren’t growing much yet - not until the days get a little longer in February, but they are there. And we don’t have much tending to do. Winter around here is also a growing season, just a slower moving.
Spring and summer with their comparatively crazy-fast growing are much sexier. It is hard not to get antsy for them, and so as I said, more of our energy is focused on making plans for future months.
I long to be in the field with the warm sun and blue sky above my head instead of working under a roof of plastic. I even yearn to crouch next to a bed of peas or carrots and pull weeds the cultivator missed. Since these are my dreams, I never include gnats or mosquitoes, and my back and legs never ache. I focus on the parts that satisfy my need to feel the rich dirt crumble through my fingers, connecting me to my agrarian roots.
I trust that this season of dangerous ice will indeed cycle into one of lush abundant growth.
Sometimes, though, it is hard to believe it will happen. Sometimes I can’t dream, and that scares me. I get caught up in concerns about climate change and the challenges that lay ahead of us. I worry. What will happen to us all if the earth warms several degrees? What if there are too many pests to grow quality produce? What if the weather is too hot and dry, making water scarce? What if we experience devastating flooding? Can we adapt quickly enough? Can we save what needs saving? Will we be able to anticipate new needs and work together to find solutions in a changing environment? I don't know - especially when some don't even believe it IS happening.
It can be overwhelming. I want to let it be someone else’s problem even while I know that isn’t realistic. This is the planet our children are inheriting. Aaargh! I want to curl under my covers and go back to my mosquito-less dreams. But I can’t dream. Heck, I can’t stop thinking.
I can’t ignore it. My only course of action is to try to affect change by making choices that factor the environment in them. It is the best way to contribute. So I make phone calls to government officials to voice my opinion. I replace the cloth shopping bags in our vehicles so we aren’t caught at a store needing plastic ones. I consolidate trips to town to save gas. And of course, we recycle. I talk through decisions aloud, hoping to guide our children to be conscious consumers. And I know none of that is enough, so I’m challenging myself to focus my time wisely and to keep educating ourselves.
And I start to dream again . . . I imagine the sun warming my bare skin, the plant sprouts pushing up through the ground, the birds building nests to lay their eggs in. I hear Aidan ask me to take a walk to the creek. I feel the responsibility of people purchasing shares from our farm comfortably settle on my back.
And I make more plans for the future because we will continue to farm sustainably. I feel hope, and it feels good. Whatever comes our way, we will meet head on – farmers and eaters together.