Thursday, October 14, 2010

Visiting Farmers

A convergence of my worlds and values. It is the rare visitor who truly connects with my artisans on the level of equal. But I had a couple the other day who were in this rank. They've an organic farm on the border of New York and Vermont. They raise pigs and chickens for meat, vegetables, fruit and bees. They are creative and concerned, devoted to their space and to working organically. They are hard-working and focused, curious and open. They came to learn and to share. They came bearing gifts -- home-made maple syrup.

And so we did a leisurely and extremely informative tour together. Sunday morning through lunch saw us with my friends at Long Mai, an organic farming cooperative and home to anywhere from 25 to 50 people from numerous European countries. Hannes, one of the founders in 1990 of this farm and deeply concerned and active in environmental politics since the 1970s, welcomed us warmly and patiently.

Over a very powerful cup of coffee and blown about by the even more powerful Mistral winds we took the time to share history, tales, ideas, and truly get a sense of each other. Passion was shared and conveyed. Respect was offered and received.

We toured the property, inspected the fields, met the animals, observed the projects coming up, passed by the chickens and the geese, strolled through the vegetable patches, admired the handmade bread oven, and were duly impressed by the conservatory of rare seeds.

Longo Mai is a place where any might go and see if it works for him/her. It is a way of life, and a life-choice. It is a community brought together to care for each other, work alongside each other, with the common goal of not polluting the world, and of maybe finding a better way to be. You come with what you have, and contribute what you are able. There are many jobs to be shared around and for each who is committed, a place can be found. All ages are welcome. The community feeds itself and strives to create a source of income from their activities to go further, build, create and plan for the future. The wool from their sheep, spun and knitted into finished sweaters is one such source, but also many delicious recipes for sauces and dips prepared and canned on-site. And, they orchestrate the preparing and delivering of farm crates with a rich array of products from neighboring organic farms.

In keeping with his never-ending projects Hannes just sent me a short translation concerning uranium mines in Mali. You never know what will come back after a visit!

From Longo Mai I took my visiting farmers to see Aurelie at the goat farm, then Sophie in her beehives.

It's very special for me to meet the people who are transforming the world back in the US along these lines. People who understand my own intensity and desire to nourish my children as well as possible. People who are committed to organic, who are going back to the earth, who are choosing to produce a maximum of their own food, and to collaborate with neighbors. Apparently the movement is as much a mother's/women's movement as a family affair. I suppose we are all readers of Michael Pollan, concerned and curious, over-educated, making choices about quality of life that jeopardize finances, but enrich differently.

And just the other day I had another client who's spent a life as a photographer, and is now training to be a veterinary technician at the age of 50! He too had a very personal and powerful moment at the goat cheese farm. This world is the one he is aiming towards.

Come my friends. I and my artisans will share with you what we may.

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