A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty
I recall being in line to board a plane once with my two small children, Melon and Puck Finn (yes, Puck, ala The Bard). We were at the gate when my youngest started walking too fast and ended up ahead of us and around the knees of another family. I said, loudly, “Puck, those aren’t your people,” and he looked up and then returned to me. The attendants at the desk thought it was hilarious but I didn’t think it was oddly phrased. He belonged with his people through that process. Everyone needs their tribe.
Remember our discussion about finding your WHY? Today we go a step further. Today you start seeking those who will be part of your HOW.
If you wrote your reasons for wanting to grow food in the front of your garden diary, good. If you haven’t done that, I recommend it. Put it on the cover if you want. Glue rhinestones on if that is your thing. Bring your style to your gardening.
Garden life is better with a support system. Being a locavore is almost impossible without community. Preppers have MAGS (or at least some do). Even introverts need resources. My friend, Barbara, says we “do life” together.
For us, the people with whom we do life help us find local sources of food, help we can trust, ideas for our place, classes and other sources of information and, most importantly, moral support. Being with others who have the same goals moves you forward.
Need a birthday gift? If I can’t make something appropriate, I know someone who can. What do I do about these spots on my strawberries? Send a picture to the homesteading guild and see who has already been through it. Shouldn’t we do something about the garbage the kids eat in school? Let’s raise a local army and change it. When I am behind, I can vent to people who have seen my space and know my concerns. Who has lettuce right now? Does anyone want these bricks? And on and on…
So, how and where do we build up a cache of like-minded folks who can help us find what we need, learn with us, share information and support our efforts?
Start where you are right now. You are reading this online. When you are done, start searching your area for homesteading groups, gardening groups, classes, local clubs, organic farmers, farm tours etc. www.localharvest.org is a good place to start. Then get on a search engine and type in everything you mention in your WHY statement along with the name of your town or area.
Next, start contacting local growers and gardens and ask to tour. If you already have like-minded friends, take them along.
Make sure you frequent any farm markets you can find and talk to everyone selling something that interests you. Beware the brokers who are selling stuff they didn’t grow.
Volunteer at anything you can find that supports local producers.
Contact your local extension service and ask if they have a list of organic farms in the region. http://nifa.usda.gov/extension
Check out the USDA local listings. http://www.usdalocalfooddirectories.com/listings.html
Make sure you have tried to make contact with anyone in your immediate neighborhood who has a garden. If you see a garden that catches your eye, stop and see if they will talk to you about it. People love to talk about their efforts.
*If you encounter a grower who seems suspicious of your interest and doesn’t want to talk to you, respect it and move on. Those who are in conventional ag or have been in the past, tend to view people who ask questions as a potential threat. We were taught that. (Do NOT argue or criticize a grower’s methods, ever. YOU will not change them.) And those in the preparedness community may prefer anonymity.
Are there people in your religious group who share your concerns about the food supply? They are part of your crew.
Community colleges sometimes offer great classes on gardening, food preservation and preparation.
Finding like-minded folks isn’t enough. Community is a two way street, or maybe a circle around a campfire is a more appropriate metaphor. You need to put yourself out there. Show up. Volunteer. Give out your contact information and encourage people to use it. I know this is painful for introverts but you can do it quietly and only when you are up for it. There are lots of introverts in the gardening community. And be honest about where you are and your hopes. Authenticity builds bonds. Let your freak flag fly. I promise, the people who are meant to be your people can handle it. In turn, accept other people’s eccentricities. You’ll find, in most places, growing food transcends politics, religion and heritage.
I used to want my garden to look like something in a magazine. It made the whole experience stressful for me. Since I have started accepting the wild time with the organised I have found the place more peaceful. And I no longer dread people seeing my mess.
Chew on this
The precautionary principle: Environment management rule that if a threat of serious or irreversible damage to the environment or human health exists, a lack of full scientific knowledge about the situation should not be allowed to delay containment or remedial steps if the balance of potential costs and benefits justifies enacting them. In other words, “prevention is better than cure.” Also called preventative principle.
As you will come to realize, I have long been in love with research about microbes. I love the gut biome, the aura around us and the microbiome of the soil. Here is a good article about the soil and the future of growing. http://modernfarmer.com/2014/04/microbes-will-feed-world-real-farmers-grow-soil-crops/
Happy eating, Katy