We spent time on the road this past summer, visiting farming partners, and were profoundly impacted by this experience. One word kept surfacing throughout our travels: Generosity. There was generosity in spirit towards our visit and there was an even greater generosity of spirit towards the work. Here, we capture our reflections:
Katherine: That was quite something – part Thelma & Louise adventure, part educational roadshow! I loved it all and am still trying to process the experience. I have such a greater appreciation for what it takes to grow food and to do so in the way our partners do: with total respect for the land and each other. Thoughts?
Maggie: I have so many. Where to start… Well, just like you, I was struck by how hard it is to farm — to do all of the many tasks needed to plant, grow, and harvest food in accordance with nature and, at the end of the day, still be at the mercy of nature. I don’t think there’s any other profession that requires such dedication and, in the end, relies so heavily on trust.
Katherine: It’s interesting that you bring that up, because I’ve been thinking a lot about what Ed (one of our California farming partners) said when asked about how he deals with his livelihood being tied to the whims of nature. His answer went something like: “I’m not here to exploit the land, but rather to work with what I’m given.” He was way more zen than I could imagine, and that sentiment has stayed with me. It’s all about honoring a communal relationship with the land.
Maggie: I agree 100%. In fact, although all our farmers struck me as very different in temperament, motivation, and approach to farming, they all had that one thing in common — that ability to do insanely hard work and then surrender the outcome.
Also, I think I was surprised by just how deeply they care for and attend to the land. It was almost tender. It filled me with hope.
Katherine: Totally. And there was this common level of curiosity at play - a genuine desire to test, observe, and learn. I found this really inspiring. Farming is complicated and intricate work - I’m feeling lots of things, but above all, thankful.
Maggie: Yes, hopeful and thankful.