There is nothing that feels so good as being amongst trees. They bring the most calming peace. Sometimes, while walking in the woods, I will stop with a start… something catching my attention from the corner of my eye. Today, it was a mist. Or so I first perceived. A surprising conjecture, given the biting cold and breeze. When I stopped moving, my eyes adjusted to what had caused the illusion. An interesting play by the filtered late-day sunlight on the ashy purple bark of the pines. The long, narrow, evenly-spaced trunks seemed almost water-colored. They possessed a character all their own.
At another junction, tall, young oaks with mossy bases were knocking vigorously on one another, whipping and creaking in the increasing wind. They clacked as if hidden woodland gnomes had surrounded us, furiously beating large sticks against their hard trunks to scare us away. My pup was so bewildered, she growled and ran the other way.
I love the personalities of trees and the little neighborhoods they create in the forest. Over here is a wide, dim swath of rusty-gold carpet beneath a canopy of evergreen. Over there is a bright and inviting hillside with sparsely scattered hardwoods bending in charismatic stances. Up on the hill is the peaceful birch grove overlooking the meadow, soft and pink at sunset. On the river’s edge - at the foot of the bluff - massive white pines loom with eagles hung in them… and sometimes gliding between like ominous spirits. There’s a feel to the woods. Auras that radiate up from the roots. A community, diverse in look and function, but deeply connected. The more I walk in the wild, the less wild it feels. In fact, quite the opposite. It seems orchestrated and purposeful. Left to her own devices, Mother Earth creates beauty beyond imagine. She’s the original artist.
Nature has always drawn me near. It’s what lead me to do the work I am now so committed to doing. Work I couldn’t possibly walk away from, because of it’s incredible importance. Abandoning this work would be abandoning my own Mother. She needs to be cared for in these times. She needs to be protected. The human race has become a threat to The Earth and to it’s own existence. I personally never felt healthy living in the city. Since becoming a farmsteader, I feel so much more at ease in my heart. My body and soul feel nourished. My conscience is more clear by lessening our carbon footprint and by doing something that makes a difference in the world. I am synced with the natural biorhythms. Longer days mean more intense work. Shorter days mean more rest. It’s the way the world had always functioned… right up until the industrial “revolution”. The more time I spend immersed in nature, the stronger my desire grows to protect it.
A new documentary has been made, which I am eager to see. It’s called SEED – The Untold Story. I don’t even need to see it to know how important it is and how impactful it could – and hopefully will - be. I know what drove folks to make it. It’s what drove me to become a farmer and to focus my work on heirlooms and seed-saving. It rests on one very basic, terrifying fact that most people don’t know and probably don’t want to. The human race is on the verge of a global food system collapse. It’s not a lie , it’s not a conspiracy, it’s not even an over-exaggeration. 94% of all plant species that humans eat are now extinct. In the blink of an eye they disappeared and are continuing to do so. The move to conventional farming and loss of small family farms and backyard gardens erased many thousands of foods that had been selectively grown and adapted for many thousands of years, leaving the genetic diversity of our food supply vulnerable. They were gone before we even knew they were in danger. And now, with climate change drastically affecting farmer’s ability to grow food, many of those naturally adapted disease-resistant, pest-resistant, drought-tolerant fruits and veggies are gone. If the 6% that are left experience one really bad year – or more likely, several really bad years – humans across the globe will suffer severe food shortages. Genetic diversity is just as important in food species as it is in natural ecosystems. And here’s the real kicker: it won’t get better. It won't reverse. Because seeds don’t live forever. They are living things. They die if they are not grown year after year. They die if they are not stored properly. Moisture and mold are a stored seed’s worst enemy. If small farms and backyard gardeners don’t do the work to grow endangered heirlooms and properly save and share seeds, the human race itself will go extinct.
So there you go. Welcome to Winnowburrow Farm where we are saving the world one seed at a time!
In all seriousness though... see the film. And consider supporting our farm by buying into our heirloom CSA. Or another farm close to you. You can save the world, too!