Sunday, May 16, 2010

You're fired!

My husband told me today that if he was the president(God forbid!) of Tree and Twig that he would fire me. It is because, you see, he is a business man and his contention is that I don't run my farm business like a business.
When you do what I do there is lots of good will, and the expectation I think, that you share what you know what you have learned. Of course you want other people to get into farming, and you hope of course, that they will be decent about it and not stab you in the back after taking off with your pearls of wisdom. And in his business, if an employee was sharing company secrets with "the competition", adios amigo!
I have talked to Farmstart about my farming experiences in the hope that sharing will help those starting out. I have had a steady stream of folks through over the years who ask both general and sometimes very specific questions about what I do. Sometimes these folks do end up in the growing business and sometimes they don't for whatever reason.
But I have been burnt sometimes. I had a gal here years ago asking for advice. She came out many times to talk, but then never showed up again after I gave her hundreds of dollars of tomato plants in exchange for work.
I had a gal asking me about my best tomatoes, I gave her seed and then 20 minutes from my home she begins selling the transplants the next year. Not mentioned to me! Some of this seed cost me literally hundreds of dollars because of associations I have to join and work I do in these organizations. Do I feel used? Sure do.
A fellow was here this winter asking me about growing heirloom tomatoes and then a few weeks later I get an email saying he is offering heirloom tomato gardening a hefty cost.
I could go on, but don't want to. My husband would call these folks "the scufflers"....knocking over whoever they have to, to make a run for the top.
I never envisioned growers like this. When I was a kid growing up, our harvest table was always full with farmers who stopped by to help my dad out. My dad did the same.
I have also run into some tremendous people, who have gone out of their way to help and I do try to focus on this. But it troubles me. I don't want to stop talking to people...but this is my living too. I work awful darn hard, and it has taken me years to figure some things out. I'm still learning-every year you do.
I have to muddle my way through this one and hope to continue offering good will to other growers. But the way it looks, if I keep on-I may be jobless! Or husbandless!

1 comment:

mongrelpuppy said...

humble opinion: this struggle is the economics of industrial salvage and eco-technic revival building whimsical gardens.

seek escape from the business types. from short term profit management violating the truths pointed out by Professor John K Galbraith.(he who advised presidents)..that "any decision measured strictly by its economic factors will in the end turn out to be wrong one.."

From this in-house educated corporate MBA point of view most business thinking is a form of virus..I would have fired Donald Trump given the chance to put that bully in his place.

I trust the soul of gardening will heal the difference of opinion. You don't want the paradigm shift between gardens and profit and loss statements to confuse proven success.
Tree and Twig is a Star. Heal the garden and maybe the garden will heal us. The "bottom line" is an abstraction, a form of dementia. Distrust it.
The business world needs to step back and rethink..i.e. as demonstrated by mismanagement which now seriously threatens our survival.

The culturally introverted neuro linguistic patterns of the busy-ness schools is unqualified to judge your efforts. The proof is in the agricultural disaster.

seek a blending of paradigm, not a conflict of point of view; a delicate gardening language to address the conflict in paradigm. It's all for tribe. Not just for personal RRSP's. Business doesn't have a strong track record in family and health issues. Does not play well with others.
You are closer to ‘right path' than any ‘bottom line' measuring presently destroying all that lives and breathes. I can't imagine a DeGrootes School of business type having the wherewithal to do what you've done. And frankly, I wouldnt trust them with the job.

Farming is not Monsanto or Dow who want to patent every living thing and procedure invented by earthlings including the very weeds we've been using for folk medicine.
others will feed off ideas, expand on them. That is the nature of human activity. The real world does not fit a corporate systems analysis. We are schooled and educated in a society run by pirates. Who owns patents on the seeds, soil and planting and harvesting and canning?

I have struggled for decades to change family farm paradigm back to a grounded reality. Now all the farms from the family are lost to the business ethic driven abstractions of real estate courses, subdivisions, a growth and profit ethic that has brought the Niagara district and southern Ontario from when it provided 85% of Ontario's grocery supply to less than 15%. Business thinking led by folks from Ag Canada and OMAFRA has now put us subject to fragile supply lines and at any given moment three days from a potential famine. That is business fact.
You want to encourage others to follow take these ideas and run with it.

you are on track. passionate obsession like yours will be the saving factor if we are to have any food at all. It is the "soul of farming" enlivened by efforts such as yours..

Gardening struggles against the business-bottom line MBA driven agriculture that threatens to starve the planet through breech of trust and fiduciary mismanagement.

We'll be there May 23rd .visit, buy a few more plants to supplement the 400-450 started from some of your seeds.
When Disney inspired economics collapses, and it is unquestionably crumbling, it is folks like you that will save those of us caught in the corporate reality from starvation.

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