THREE UNDERSTANDINGS

            Saturday I did a fundraiser for the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund at Reverence Farm in Graham, North Carolina.  The day's events included a farm tour and I was privileged to be on the one led by Suzanne Karreman, the driving force behind the operation.

             I liked her three-part goal for the tour, or as she said, "I want to show you three things:  responsibility, possibility, and hope."

             She delivered in spades.  Although only 5 years old, the farm has definitely made a splash in its area, including a wonderful cafe along State Rt. 87 just south of Saxapahaw.  You can't miss it:  a majestic metal fabricated and decoratively painted 10 ft. tall chicken stands sentry out front.

             But back to the three things.  Responsibility is the idea that none of us can escape making choices about our food and farming protocols.  Animals in industrial orthodox systems essentially eat in their own bathroom, which is "gross," and wouldn't be the place of choice for humans either.  Keeping the animals moving onto new ground protects them from the unsanitary conditions prevalent inmost animal outfits.

             Second, the possibility that by careful management we can build soil, increase organic matter, increase water retentive capacity.  In other words, we can farm destructively or regeneratively; we can leave less than we found or more than we found.  Too many folks are so absorbed in the Conquistador mentality, which includes a chemically-based protocol, that the idea of grabbing fertility out of the air and building abundance simply by changing management never enters our imagination.

             Third, hope.  That is where possibility meets responsibility.  In five years, Reverence Farm has doubled its productive capacity not by planting seeds, applying fertilizer, or any of the normal outside-in techniques.  Rather, it's occurred by tightening up the management to fully capture and leverage nature's templates toward productivity.

             As Suzanne pointed out, the notion that in another 10 years they could double again simply by letting natural processes work at their peak speaks volumes to the scarcity and food insecurity issues of our day.  It means the earth is not overpopulated.  That we're not running out of food.  That our grandchildren can have a happy life.  That water, soil, air, and biological abundance can be there for them too. 

             It was a simple and profound message that can truly lift our hearts.  In a day of negativity and fear, Reverence Farm stands as a beacon of truth and hope.  We need lots more farms like this.

             Are you helping them proliferate?