Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

New Year, New Plans, Same Farm

field - tillingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll I want for the new year are viable seed, good soil, nutrient rich compost and the right amount of rain and sun. Is this too much for an organic farmer or conscientious resident to ask? Of course, there are many other factors that go into a successful growing season. Tis a series of successive seasons, rather. The planning begins now with catalogues and spread sheets. The preparation continues with chopping wood to heat the greenhouse. And then there is the organizing. Who will come help sow these seeds? What kids will come visit the Farm in spring for hands-on, experiential field trips to turn the soil? Who will take a week or two in the summer to cultivate, weed and harvest? Which foreword thinking high schoolers will come to the Farm for community service and deliver organic vegetables to food pantries in need on the south shore? The demand is there for growing more and providing more to people who do not have access or means to grow or shop for healthy produce. Though we may not realize, there are folks in our neighborhoods and adjacent communities who are struggling. As much as there were bountiful gifts under the evergreens and presents for eight nights, there are folks who have a hard time finding ingredients for meals. The generous holiday box handed out at Well Spring a week ago needs to be filled again and often. Many people are working multiple jobs to gain funds for food, shelter and necessities. And tangentially, some feel ostracized and in protest, just to safely walk the streets and avenues to work and live their life, with hands up, empty and asking why. There are plenty of seeds that farmers and gardeners have saved and preserved, so that more folks can grow some food. Certainly not everyone has the means or the space to grow all the right foods. Olive trees and lemons are hard to grow in New England. The growing emphasis on farm to table luxuries and whole foods has yet to reach us all. Though avocados have been spotted in a well-heated Connecticut greenhouse, so perhaps a new farmer can help us replicate that delicious, rich, brain-developing fruit.

PRS 3rd graders digging potatoes

So the opportunities are there for any of us to come to workshops, to read, to research and to use search engines and YoTube videos to learn more and grow more and gain better health. But it does take time and mistakes and trial and more error to try and grow well for an extended amount of (global warming enhanced) months. It is nice to think about the possibilities this time of year, with the sun shining and the temperatures dipping below freezing, that we can gather more compost ingredients from willing restaurants and we can grow more wisely in more economically tilled beds. Who knows what the winter and subsequent spring will bring? The almanac is one forecast and the reality of a changing world is another. All we can do is wish and hope, plan and discuss.   The action now, in these quiet months, is to think and write down our ideas, all the while still working on mending fences, plowing roads, clearing ditches and tending to the animals that live on the Farm, as they too have new year’s resolutions yet unspoken.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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