Monday, February 16, 2009

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down Off The Farm?

Here in our rural Maine hamlet, we like to say, "we're so far behind...we're ahead!"

Our suspicions were confirmed this past week by a front-page article in the Portland Press Herald. According to the news, farming is hip. Farming is the In, Now, Groovy-Cool (Rad? Awesome? Sick?) Thing all over again. In light of this earth-shattering information, it seems helpful to provide links to some real dirt-under-their-fingernails folks who can give some guidance from the beds and trenches.

First, check out this post from The Ladybug Letter, written by Andy Griffin at Mariquita Farm. I attended an excellent presentation by his wife, Julia, at a regional WAgN conference a few years ago. Their work is not only a source of great farming inspiration, but also an important reality check.

Second, a good basic "how-to" post from Annie in Cariboo Valley. Thanks to Robin at Season's Eatings Farm (another WAgN connection!) for calling this to our attention.

More to I dig up more resources, this list will grow!


Mama Pea said...

What scares me (and kinda ticks me off) is that so many people seem to think that 'when things get really bad', they can go to Plan B (or L or Q) and farm (i.e., raise all their own food, animals, magically become self-sufficient, etc.). Just like that. Uh-huh. Nuthin' to it. Most people espousing this position have never set foot on a 'farm' let alone done a day's work on one.

One huge difference between the last Great Depression and the one coming up is that in the 30s nearly everyone had a relative or acquaintance still on the farm that they could go to who would hopefully take them in and let them attempt to earn their keep. Ain't so these days. Too many people, too few with the knowledge to pass on.

If somehow people would start NOW, not as a last resort. Start with three hens in a tiny backyard coop. Put in that garden this year. Get a taste of how much effort goes into bringing that carrot or potato to your table. How hard it is to get a tomato to ripen in many of our growing locales. Learn, educate, grow, get back to our roots.

Okay, I'm done now. My cold is still making me very cranky so I attribute this rant to that.

MaineCelt said...

I agree. I was born into a family of farmers and teachers and can still call my mother with questions. I know I have a strong advantage, but I also am realistic about just how much hard work good farming takes--and how much more learning remains. On top of our farm reference bookshelves, we keep a favorite yardsale find just for laughs: a 1950s book entitled, "We Farm for a Hobby and Make It Pay." The true joys and struggles of farming come with more pain and anxiety than one book could ever hold.

To borrow a line, one is not born a farmer; one becomes one. The best farmers BECOME the best by surrounding themselves with a community of other farmer-learners. Now that so few of us can draw on intergenerational farm wisdom, we'll have to work much harder to create and maintain our educational networks. WAgN (The Women's Agricultural Network) is one such organization--it's not active in every state yet, but it's growing and helping to meet part of the need.

There...rant tag, you're it!

Anonymous said...

I agree! I firmly believe everyone should do something to provide some of their own food. One of my friends can't grow a plant. She gets points for doing well with children though. Since she can't grow things she wild harvests like crazy. Do not get between that woman and a raspberry!

Learn now and don't say "I can't" as an excuse. You can. Just do it.

It's so cool to be cool! Someone told me she loved my boots Sunday. They're MUCKS!!