“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.”
The season of gratitude and giving is upon us, and what a wonderful time of year it is! I think my favorite part about Autumn is the way the clear skies take on those deeper shades of blue, bluer and bluer as winter approaches. The leaves are almost gone off the trees, but not quite gone in the fields yet! Things are growing much, much slower right now, however, as the waning daylight hours are slipping into the Persephone period where the sun sticks around for 10 hours or less, and growth all but stagnates. It’s a beautiful myth, the one of Persephone, who was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the Earth. Persephone was abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld, to serve as his wife. In retaliation, Demeter threatened to stop all growth on the planet. This, however, Zeus could not abide, and stepped in to mediate the situation, and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would only live in the underworld during the winter months. Still distraught by the arrangement, Demeter made the landscape barren for the time that Persephone was away. It’s amazing to realize the connections between these ancient myths and agriculture and how truly our advancement as a species has only really come about because of our connecting with the natural cycles on this planet. This is the bigger picture that keeps me going, that grounds me and inspires me, and what should be the true goal of every farmer: to help people understand these connections and better see how they fit into this world. Every farmer comprehends and feels this, for if they didn’t, they would not continue to farm.
Being that it is the season of generosity and giving, I want to make you guys aware of a tremendous opportunity to invest in Street Fare Farm as I transfer my operations from the Lomax Incubator Farm to the Riverbend Estates, where I have been living and keeping my flock of hens for going on two years now. Being that I am leaving the incubator farm, there is a lot that I will be starting from scratch, mainly in the ways of equipment and infrastructure. The key difference here is that I know what I need now! I’ve already made a few investments in some tools to make my operations more efficient next season, which will free up more time for me to do the other part of farming that I love, marketing! That said, there is one key piece of equipment that I am still trying to put together the financing for, a piece of equipment that is integral to the bio-intensive model that I started moving my systems toward this past season, and that is a BCS two-wheeled walk-behind tractor. With the walk-behind tractor and the rotary plow and tiller attachments, I can break new ground and make the permanent raised-beds that are packed close together to get the most production out of the limited space I have (the field I’ll be growing on is just shy of 2 acres). With the flail-mower and power-harrow attachments, I can efficiently turn over beds to take out one crop and get it ready for another, doubling the profitability of that growing space while only minimally disturbing the soil so as not to bring up new weed seeds as well as keep the soil structure in place, which lends to the health of the soil and the thriving ecosystem therein, and also allow me to start experimenting with in-bed cover-cropping techniques to increase the fertility in my beds without having to import any inputs!
SO, this is what I need, but how can you help, you ask? I am running a campaign called a Kiva Loan, which is very much like Kickstarter in the way that I am crowdfunding this loan, but it’s unlike Kickstarter in that instead of people just donating money and getting a sticker or a t-shirt or a Facebook shout-out, in this platform people are loaning me the money at 0% interest to be paid back in full over the course of the next 3 years. It’s also like Kickstarter in that it’s all or nothing. I have a goal of $10,000 to acquire this walk-behind and these implements, but if I don’t reach that goal in the next 45 days, I get squat! If (and when) I do hit my goal, I will have a month grace period before I have to start making regular monthly payments to pay back this loan that will get dispersed amongst the lenders over the course of the next 3 years. I am in my trial 15 days right now where I have to acquire 15 lenders to contribute at least $25 to this loan, and once I hit this target, Kiva will post my ad publically on their website for lenders from all over the world to lend to me for my efforts! I’m so ecstatic that after just one day, I already have 12 lenders and over $600 loaned to me! We’re kicking ass, but it’s still quite a ways to hit $10,000. This is where you come in, and I implore you, I ask you sincerely to please help me, a young, beginning farmer trying to do my part to change the health of our community directly by growing the most sustainable, nutrient-dense food that I can, and indirectly by fostering the health of this little corner of the world and fostering the connections to the cycles of nature that we as humans are inexorably tied to! If you can lend me just $25, that will go a long way to helping me get this funding, and remember, I WILL PAY YOU BACK! Please CLICK HERE to learn more and to lend me your moulah!
In other news, I want to give a big shout-out to Lynn at Tesh-Troxler Landscaping for starting to work with me to bring me organic matter for my growing on-farm compost program! I have a dream of creating this small-scale, highly-productive vegetable operation where all the fertility in the field is built through compost I’m making on the farm and through cover cropping so I don’t have to import ANY fertilizers (organic fertilizers are super pricey) and it’s through relationships with conscientious local business owners like Lynn that will make this dream of mine a reality! They’ve already brought over a number of loads of leaf mulch, and my compost pile is pretty darn big now! Just to give you an idea into the system, I’m going to be collecting organic matter for this pile until the end of the year (after which any new organic matter will go to create a new pile.) Then, at least once a week, I will be turning that pile to aerate it, heat it up, and help it break down quicker, and hopefully it will be ready by mid-February to go out into the fields! In the future, I won’t have to turn it quite so frequently, I’m just a bit under the gun to get some finished compost ready for next season. So thank you Lynn, and thanks to all of you that have brought me the leaves from your yard and your kitchen scraps! It takes an army, so they say!
I hope to see you all at the Winecoff Market tomorrow from 9am til Noon! Guess what I’ll have? They’re really good for you, grow very well this time of year, and rhymes with “screens…” That’s right, I’ve got the greens! Baby Kale, Arugula, Lettuce, Spring Mix, Spinach, Radishes, Turnips, and Microgreens! I’ll also have some Eggs in tow! Here’s something for you to think about… since this is the stuff that grows so well this time of year, doesn’t it make sense that this should be the stuff you should be eating, being that you are experiencing the same sunshine and breathing the same air in the same general environment that these veggies are? It seems only logical to me!
Have a wonderful weekend and a terrific week! I know I missed writing a newsletter last week, my folks were in town and I felt my time would be better spent with them over the holiday. I hope you all had a safe and satiating Thanksgiving, and I just have to let you know that I am truly grateful for you all and your continued support of my efforts! Many of you are aware that I hit a bit of a heavy funk this past summer, but your support helped to roust me out of it, and not only your support, but my adopting an attitude of gratitude towards that support, as well as towards the truly blessed nature of my life as a whole, and there are no words for the gratitude I feel swelling within me! So thank you! Be well and be grateful!