I picked up this essay from Annalisa Cox of Tuckaway Farm at the Newmarket Winter Farmer's Market. I think it is very inspiring and an important read so take the time to read it all. At the end, take action, join a community group, learn how to garden, try your hand at canning, or just visit the farmers' markets and cook one meal from local ingredients per week. Let's encourage the young generation to rise up and be the food providers of the future, providing us with sustainable delicious foods!
A call to the young people…
I want to ask you to listen to me for a while and see if any of what I have to say
to you rings of truth to you in the center of your soul. We are living in a time of change, and a time of shifting, a time of searching. We are living in a time of truth seeking, of seeking for what grounds us to Mother Earth and what connects us to each other. We have been moving too fast and have been losing the connection to our sense of place. In order to live lightly upon the earth we need to feel connected to her and to our place on her and to our place in our community.
Why don’t we start at the beginning of our story. We all must be born, and then live, and then we all must pass on. Let us talk about the time in the middle, the time when we live. Let us speak of this time. How do we want to live? How do we want to practice this daily task of living? What are the skills we need in order to live upon this earth with respect for ourselves, the earth we live upon and each other? What are the skills we need to have in order to live lightly upon the earth and use only what we need? Our earth is trying to speak to us, so let us listen. She is asking us to slow down and step back. To slow down, and step back… to listen, to watch to look inside and to look at the natural cycles and harmonies of the earth to receive the clues as to what will be truly sustainable practices of living on this earth so that we will have a healthy home to pass on to our grandchildren and their grandchildren. What ties all of these cycles together and what we all need in order to live well is a healthy food system.
Let me tell you that I am concerned. I am very concerned about who will be the people growing food in twenty years? The average age of a farmer in the United States at this time is 54. I hope we are not relying upon 74 year olds to be growing all of our food in twenty years. I am concerned about our food security in New England. Our grocery stores have gotten to the point where they are stocking only 3 days worth of food for all of the people that they serve. We have gotten to the point where most houses do not have a root cellar. We have gotten to the point where we have forgotten the skills we need in order to provide the most basic necessity of all, food, for our loved ones.
We need to remember how to grow carrots. And we need to remember that when we harvest our carrots and store them in the root cellar to eat all winter long, we need to save out some of the best ones to replant in the spring in order to have them finish their life cycle to give us seed for the next year’s crop. We need to remember to practice growing food, and saving our seed for the coming years, so that even if we are not here, the seed is still here for our loved ones to plant. In this way we can continue to nourish our loved ones even when we are gone. But first we need to remember how.
We need to remember how to care for our topsoil. We need to remember that most things worthwhile take work. We need to remember that work is good for our bodies and souls. Our minds are sharper when our bodies are healthy and strong. Our topsoil. All of life on earth is dependent upon the quality of our topsoil, and the health of our fresh water supply. We need to remember that water and soil are sacred and a gift to us to be cherished and cared for. When we forget this, then we become detached and the soil becomes something to be mined. But we cannot take and take and take and take, and give nothing back and expect the soil to be there for us forever. We need to raise food on a scale that we can still pay attention and give back to the soil so that the generations to come will still have a chance to live. Let us remember that without soil and water, there is no life for us. We need to remember to slow down, we need to remember to listen, we need to remember to watch, and then to learn from the natural cycles that are our model for a sustainable way of life. We need to remember that the animals are put here as a blessing and a gift to us for us to cherish and to care for. We have been asked to care for them in their lives and they will give us life in their help with our soil’s fertility, and the food that they may provide and their nourishment of our souls and joy in our hearts. Let us be thankful.
We need to go through a practice of re-skilling and re-learning the cycles in order to have a healthy local food system for our community. New Hampshire people are currently producing less than 5 percent of our food here in NH. I wish I could grow enough food for all of the people of NH all by myself, but I cannot.
I am putting out a call for the young people who do not know their paths, for those who know their work and calling is not inside, but that their work is outside connected to the natural cycles of the earth and connected to the sun and the rain and the earthworms and the cover crops. You may not have had many people suggest this as a career, but let me tell you… this is not a career, but it is a life. I can think of no other life pursuit more worthwhile or life giving than the cultivation of food and health of ourselves, our land and our communities.
I am putting out a call to the young people whose work is caring for the animals and witnessing the miracles of every seed that is planted that bursts forth in the miracle of life to grow to reach for the sun and stretch those roots deep into the earth and to participate in the dance of life. My call is to those young people with a longing to feel connected. I am calling to those young people who want to experience a life full of purpose and connection to the place in which they live. I am calling to those young people who want to nourish and be nourished in their life. To those who want to know how to feed themselves and their loved ones. I am putting a call out to the young people who want to feel connected to the work horses though the touch of the reins in their hands, to the young people who want to feel the summer breeze, the smell of drying hay, who want to watch the field mice jump, and the red tailed hawk circling above, waiting for lunch.
Let us remember, that if we have shelter, and if we have food, and if we have community, then we are truly the wealthiest of the kings and queens on earth. Let us think about how we want to spend our lives, and how we want to leave this place for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Let us remember. Let us be thankful. Let us cherish the sacred gifts we have been given. Let us take care of the water, the soil, the animals, our families, our communities and ourselves. Let us walk lightly upon the earth and leave to the young people to come good soil, healthy animals, plenty of seeds to plant and plenty of fruit trees.
Written by Annalisa W. Miller
Wild Miller Gardens
11 Randall Rd. Lee, NH 03861
And in pairing with this, check out the awesome post by Amy at What Did She Do Today? about how she talks to her 3 year old about raising and eating their animals and the reactions of her daughter.