Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Change and grow

Sometimes things in life change because they are beyond our control, and some things in life change because they must.

I'll leave you with that.

It has been that kind of year for me.

People have commented over some of my last posts, that I seem to be struggling with the whole farming thing, and what it has turned into. Discouraged perhaps.

Well, let me tell you, I love growing things. I love planting seeds, watching them grow. And even the past few weeks of pulling weeds....what the hell. It's okay.  There is peace in it. I will return to a freshly weeded spot in the garden several times a day, just to admire my handiwork. It is good.

I love heirlooms. I love the value they have, most assuredly not monetary.  The uniqueness and the connection to our history.
I love the diversity and saving my seed. It is important. Terrifically important.

What discourages me is the outside noise.  The competition in growing. The local buzz. The local food authorities and heroes that aren't. The tweets, the mentions, the lack of mentions. The race to get ahead.  It all goes a bit too fast for me and sometimes I find that ignorance truly is bliss. There are some things people are writing about that I just simply don't want to know. I'm better off not knowing.
Peace of mind.

Sometimes that small little world of mine is better being small.

Last week The Ministry of Ag, Food safety Division stopped by, demanding I pick certain vegetables from my garden for them to send to a lab.  Out come the plastic gloves as my food was dumped into a sterilized bag.

Checking for EColi, salmonella, heavy metals, chemical residues. and more. I couldn't refuse this overpaid representative, as she insisted she follow me into my house to watch me wash the produce.
Big Brother is here were my thoughts. and my second was, "why the hell aren't you checking out the **** they are serving at MacDonalds and Tim Hortons. And more. I've never made anyone sick in the 14 years I've sold my produce that I know of, but I can damn well bet some of these places have. And will for years to come.

I don't use animal manure,  I don't use chemicals,  I have double filtered water to wash my produce. High risk for sure.

How did this all end up being a piece of it all?

Honestly, it feels so invasive and makes me want to forget it all. That young gal, coming here with her ag degree and likely making triple, quadruple what I make. Telling me how to do what I do.

A peaceful farm life.  This is not how it was in my parent's day.

The best thing for me is when people stop by the farm and I can put together a healthful basket of food for them. They can see me pick it, and I can explain some interesting items to them.  This one on one is the best and fulfills my need to chat to people. And grow cool stuff.

I think next year I need a change of strategy. I'm thinking here, people. Restaurants? My select few favourites for sure.

But after that I don't know.  A travelling veggie van, which trolls neighbourhoods, a cooperative effort with like minded friends and growers, I just don't know. Selling only to select individuals?
Growing food gardens for people in their own homes who don't have the time, children's food growing lessons where the payoff is huge-fresh food to feed their families? Growing food gardens for businesses?

I think about it all.

And I don't know.

Office job? Nah...don't think so.

 But change is in the air.


Brewer said...

Hi Linda

I've been doing some thinking along similar lines. I want DESPERATELY to own a farm and grow veggies like you do. But I can't afford it so I am thinking of starting small. Not sure how just yet, but I didn't want you to think I "stole" your idea, if I DO ever get it going.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll be a success; because you have such a passion for growing.

Melonbobber said...

Hi Linda

Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like what could have been a chance to encourage and support local farmers was turned into an investigation of sorts. We had such joy growing some of your tomatoes this summer, I would hate to see others robbed of that and many other experiences your work can provide to the local community. Please keep your head up and remember how much your followers love you and your produce!

TimeUnEnding said...

In regards to your ideas, when I was little a local farmer had a veggie truck he drove around our neighborhood. I loved it! Hearing him yelling done the street to get everyone's attention. He always took the time to visit his regulars while he was there. such a great memory.

Also, the classes for kids idea is FANTASTIC!! Perhaps you could teach adults too. I'd love to learn.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences, good and bad. The work you do in the garden, online and in the world matters a great deal. Thank you so much for sticking with it!

Tiffany Mayer said...

Oh, OMAFRA, always going after the wrong folk and dropping the ball on other important issues...

Change can be rejuvenating. Selfishly, I hope you never stop growing veggies, though. I have learned so much from you and eaten so well since meeting you six years ago. I would be sad -- and mealtime would be boring -- without your influence.

inhabiting_trees said...

I'll be graduating in April, and I'm just starting to think about what I'll be doing next season .. I'd love to put my head together with yours (and Tiff's) for a brainstorm session!

Brewer said...


Off topic, but when you mentioned the traveling farmer, did you mean Tony Collini? He used to come around our neighbourhood in downtown St. Catharines in the 70's and 80's selling veggies out of his truck yelling something like "Arubi" so loud you could hear it a block away. Was this the same man?

What a great memory...

Catharine Ozols said...

I'm saddened to read your post but not at all surprised. The plight of farmers has ever been thus, unfortunately.

Every day, we go out in the garden and pick some of the great tomatoes we've grown from your plants and marvel at just how good they are and how many different kinds there are. It would be a travesty if other people lost the opportunity to share the gardening adventure with you.

And, to anyone in the Mt. Hope area who's interested in growing their own vegetables but don't have the space or know how to do it on their own, I'm interested in sharing my space (and the labour) in my garden.