I have walked these fields daily for over a year. Every pass includes observation, contemplation, and sometimes interaction. Every ounce of my being has become inserted right here between the natural world and the one created by men. It is my job to somehow bring forth enough of the earth’s offerings to justify my continuance as a farmer. How does a market economy put a value on the health and vitality of a farm? Does Adam Smith’s invisible hand reward the good caretakers and punish the bad? I think not. In fact it is often just the opposite.
I was twelve years old the last time I wore through so many socks. My back has been tired for months. After only two years of farming I’ve either aged rapidly or I just need a good winters sleep. All that aside, a deep connection has formed between myself and what I like to call The Green Man. The Green Man is said to be the ‘thought of all plants and trees’. He is Mother Nature’s other half. Occasionally I can hear his thoughts. Mostly he laughs at me. But every now and again the wind and rustling trees embrace me. A tiny bit of his secrets move through my core. He breaths his spirit through me and at that very moment I know things without hesitation that would otherwise pass me by. The rustling in the woods is heavy and decisive. Without seeing, I know what it is, where it is going, and what it has been eating. A few loud drumbeats bounce on the ground somewhere out of sight. Black walnuts fall to the ground and await the hungry squirrels.
The air, rain, sun, and wind, all working into my decisions, endlessly challenging my efforts to play conductor of this land. We bring our offerings to market as if to satisfy some hungry and immortal creature worshipped by modern man. “Produce more! Produce more!” That is the battle cry for next season. But how much will be enough to satisfy this beast? We call this creature The Market Economy. The only hope is that this powerful force will be kind to us. It seems that we are at a turning point in this country. The Market Economy is developing a conscience. A concern for more than low cost, expediency, and quantity have morphed this previously crude monster into something more inquisitive. A concern for the natural order of creation has emerged. “We must stop pesticide poisoning, animal abuse, hormone tinkering, gene manipulations, wasteful fossil fuel consumption and pollution”. These are the murmurings emerging from The Market Economy. “We must rebuild rural America, reconnect with the origins of our food, and relearn how to build community”. The murmurs grow louder. Finally, as the old paradigm crumbles around us and our so-called leaders try desperately to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, we the people will stand up and form a new economy. The once fearsome beast, The Market Economy is fast becoming acquainted with that Great Spirit of the woods.
Welcome to the Green Man Farm. Happy eating!!