Sunday, November 9, 2008

Growing - Physically and Spritually

Yesterday, I attended an all day farmers' workshop that was put on by our friends of TOFGA. The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is an organization of state wide farmers, ranchers, retailers and individual gardeners who share the same mindset about growing things naturally. Some are certified others are not. TOFGA's main goal is to educate those who farm and ranch and to encourage those who don't - to get busy!

Local farming really is an important part of our country's future. Some even say it is critical. Everything I read about our current food situation is pointing more and more in that direction for various reasons. Some parts of the country don't raise enough food to support their own people should there be some kind of natural disaster that kept food from being brought in - such as a severe snowstorm or hurricane, etc. They could feed on the corn raised that is stored in the silos - but I don't think they'd like it much. Heck, the cows are force fed that stuff. And you don't have to look far to see the deteriorating health of our kids and many peers. It is hard to sustain much of a quality of life on sugar free this and that, processed frozen food chocked with preservatives and chemicals and fast food diets free from fresh vegetables and full of sodium and who knows what else. But that is how a vast majority of America eats - and barely survives. Nutrition - it affects our bodies, our minds and every other part of our lives.

The point is that what we all are a part of here at Eden's, is actually on the cutting edge of what is coming. No, I'm not a doomsday person, not at all. I'm just a pretty practical girl. It makes more sense to me to grow what we can for ourselves, and export any extra perhaps, sure if there is any, - but why rely on others to import to us, what we can already grow here? OK - you want strawberries in January, or in August for that matter. Maybe we can cheat and get in a California shipment at the local grocery store. But to import things year round like meats, dairy, common veggies and such - all that does is lower the value of what is being grown at home - and put farmers out of biz. History has shown us that.

The saddest part perhaps of all is that what is being imported isn't nearly as fresh or valuable as what is now unavailable locally because the farmer couldn't survive on the lowered prices for his or her products and had to take a day job or lost their farm - or both. His or her crops were far superior to those imported from who knows where and in storage for how long? But, many people don't have an inkling about the importance of eating really fresh food. As long as it looks like a tomato it is one, right? Well, sorta. Unfortunately, the tricks they use to make things look fresh are unknown by many people and many more are sold by the pretty pictures on the boxes - even though the taste inside is far inferior to homemade freshness. Sadly, I think many have forgotten how good fresh, home made food really tastes and nourishes, not only our bodies, but our minds as well. Why does special Thanksgiving dinner really taste so good - probably because much of it is really food - not out of a box or can. (hopefully anyway)

At our workshop yesterday we talked all about the nuts and bolts of growing and ranching. Then, one speaker took us on an interesting path. Energy and Intent.

With what intent are we growing our crops? Many believe that plants grown by someone with a true respect for nature and a love for the process, are going to be far superior plants with less pressure from pests, disease and other problems. When you raise animals with respect and dignity, their bodies don't produce various enzymes or release natural chemicals that can make the meat less palatable as when animals are crowded and abused, scared or neglected. Sure, we still have to work hard and take necessary steps to grow plants and feed the animals, but doing so by using our energy and the energy that exists on the earth in various minerals, etc., in a positive way, can make a big difference in the end results.

I really think there is something to this theory; as "out there" as it may seem to some people. We all have energy - positive and negative. Everything puts off vibes or energy of some sort. These vibes or waves, etc., can be picked up by instruments and measured, so we know it is true. And, we know people tend to do a better job at something when they love what they do. Perhaps part of that is the belief in what you are doing is important, even a mission or a life calling. And perhaps part of that is the energy or vibes you send out are apparent in the final product for other reasons. All I know is that many people who follow a holistic way of doing things, tend to be pretty successful at what they are doing.

Having said that - know that I LOVE growing for you all! It is important to me to be successful for reasons that go way beyond the monetary ones. It pains me to see people unable to get the nutrition they need because they can't afford it, or can't find it, don't know how to prepare it or just don't know how badly they need it. This is personal for me and it is to many who farm. For some, it may be just what has been passed down and expected of them to carry on, although for those who have had a farm passed on to them and welcome it with open arms - they know how blessed they are. Yet for others, we chose to do this, to farm, and have found a way to make it happen, many of us amidst growing metropolitan areas and rising property taxes, pollution and other various societal pressures. It is very heartwarming to think that what is grown locally can have such a positive effect on the people's health and lives who are also local. Many of you are my neighbors! I know what isn't available around here to eat. That is in large part, why I decided to do this. To farm. And even though it has been frustratingly slow to get started, every time I come around that corner by the pond and see those plants coming along - I can't help but smile cuz I know the good stuff is coming! Yeah, there are some weeds out there among the fallow areas - feeding the birds; but the tomato plants, cucumber, squash, beets, peas (yep, guys, your seeds are up!), and the other various things we've planted are all growing and just as healthy as can be. And that is without much water as irrigation issues continue to plague us.

But, as I walk among the plants inspecting their growth (with a flashlight sometimes as it is often dark when I get up and out there especially before the time change), when that sunrise comes up over the horizon, I can't hardly think of anything else I would rather be doing at that given moment. Except wishing I didn't have to rush off so soon to sit at a desk for the next 9 hours. But, that day will come, too. More people need and want what our members are getting ready to enjoy - fresh food grown locally and with care, by someone they can see and get to know and someplace they can visit and feel a part of. Connecting to the food - especially when you have been able to help grow it - just seems to make it even more satisfying when you get to eat it. I can't wait either!

Growing with love and faith. Your prayers for healthy food to nourish your bodies and those of your kids are heartfelt and I believe they are heard and being answered in a positive way. I feel the positive energy through the notes, blog comments, and emails I get from you - and I thank you and appreciate them all as well. It reassures me I'm on the right track even with the setbacks. I can't tell you what all this project will net or who or how many it will ultimately affect, but with the good intentions that are involved by everyone participating, from the paying members, working members and unpaid volunteers who just want to be part of this - I can tell you - it is going to be great!

I'll be out watering soon - with a pump I'm going to rent soon as the store opens. We're still finessing the solar irrigation system (more on that soon) - trying to find a pump that will keep up with our needs till the shed is re-assembled and rain water system is in place. And then of course, we'll need rain...

Bless you and your families this beautiful Sunday morning.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

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