It’s alive I say, it’s alive…….sustainable farming vs. organic

Yes, it’s alive!  The soil that is….  When a person practices sustainable farming the person becomes a steward of the land.  I don’t necessarily care for the word “practice” because it seems as if all efforts are just a trial run rather than the real deal of work.  Sorry back to the soil:  My first question a few years ago was “what is the difference between organic and sustainable?”

Organic requires certification through the USDA whereas being sustainable is more of a philosophical or ethical approach to farming efforts.  For example practicing water conservation, keeping the antibiotics away from livestock,  and allowing your livestock to pasture over the winter in what was the chili field the previous summer – that’s being a good steward.  Nada mas (nothing more) is required when you are being sustainable.  I’m sure my grandfather and Pop are shrugging their heavenly shoulders with the “well yeah” gesture.

So is the food healthier?  My kiddo used to run around the farm chasing (take your pick here) chickens, ducks, or puppies.  In her signature move she would plop herself onto the ground and sneak into the rows of squash and emerge with a lemon squash between her little hands just munching away.  So how cool is that?  Would you allow your little one to just grab produce from the grocery store aisle and partake of the chemicals?  I think it’s cool to think I’m helping the earth (okay I’m reaching far beyond my neighborhood with that statement) and someday that carrot I pull from the earth will be just as nutritious as the carrots pulled a century ago.

I’m going to leave you with this short article from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa (it’s short and sweet):

May your week be amazing!!


Why didn’t I know………

October 16th was World Food Day and the theme was “family farming and caring for the world”.   My questions:  Why didn’t I know this AND why didn’t any of my farming circles know this?  Not that I would have know what to do about it anyway but why didn’t I hear about this designated “Day” from the several organizations I receive emails from.

How can we be united toward a common goal of “providing people with food” if there isn’t a common portal to communicate the needs of: the farmers, the interests of the people, or most of all those who are undernourished.  Let’s get real here – there are 800 million (at least) globally that are undernourished.  I can’t wrap my mind around 800 million people that go to bed hungry each night with little hope of change when they wake each morning.

The development of unified communication is essential in times before/during/after a crisis and I believe that unified communication is no less vital for farming communities.  In an effort to being part of a solution it requires me to take a stronger voice and stand in my effort to being a better farmer.  “If not me – then who?” and “if not now, then when?”  ( just paraphrased someone and I did it badly, my apologies) Won’t you please take a moment to be kind and help me on this journey of being an active participant?  Better yet, how can we join together and make things happen?

Are farmers mentors??

I know that I’ve posted and gushed over my Pop.  I love him (not gonna say loved, because he may be gone but my love remains) to the moon!  There are many examples of true stewards of the land and animals.  Let’s take for example San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers:  San Ysidro was a pious man and would spend a bit too much time in prayer.  So much that his fellow employees complained and his employer Senor Jefe went to talk to him.  When Senor Jefe saw Ysidro, he also saw two angels plowing the field while Ysidro was praying (what??).  He wasn’t deemed a saint as a result of taking a break and having angels work for him…….

He was a man of prayer – farmers pray (for rain, for nice weather, for good soil, good crops, healthy livestock, for their family and neighbors – you get the picture).  Ysidro was a kind man to those that were less fortunate and to the animals.  Miracles happened when Ysidro fed the poor at his table and when he shared crops with the animals – he was blessed with much more bounty.

Many farmers give without hesitation to those who are in need.  Many farmers plant extra in their fields knowing that “people aren’t the only ones eating from this land”. Many farmers share their knowledge with others.  Many farmers pray for all of us.  Many farmers do without luxury so they may share with others.  Many farmers show us how to live by being humble examples.  I am feeling so blessed.  So THANK YOU to the many farmers/ranchers out there that have been a mentor and you probably didn’t even know what a wonderful example you were – when you thought no one was looking.

How do we get the best to you?

The brisk early morning air was so refreshing against my face.  I wore a jacket so I kinda avoided the “rest of the body” experience.  Fed the chickens and rabbits – instinctively I looked up expecting to see sandhill crane above……none to be found: yet.  No daily crops to be harvested at the homefront since the farm is covered with alfalfa (for the exception of my box garden.)  The alfalfa did well this year and the monsoon rains were extremely helpful this summer:  which seldom is the situation.

Said my daily prayer and gave thanks for farmers and our warriors.  How blessed am I to have both in my life.  But today I thought about the farmer’s challenge of transporting produce – not just produce but produce that is at the peak of nutrition.  We care about that beautifully ripe tomato that smells and tastes: like a tomato.  I so dislike the mass chain grocery store tomato (say that in one breath) that looks like a tomato and has the texture of a tomato AND that’s it, no more because there is absolutely no flavor.  For the mass chain grocery, in the words of Bruce Hornsby:  “that’s just the way it is, somethings ‘ll never change” (not the entire song – okay sorry) but for a farmer that’s not acceptable – we want what’s best for that cute gramita making her perfect bologna sandwich, that sweet 2 year old in the car being buckled in the car seat, the chef wanting the perfect veggie for a discerning customer, and for the German Shepherd sneaking treats in the garden.

I’ve just begun this journey of the farmer’s plight or at least this farmer’s plight…..