It takes a hunter to make a hunter, they say.
Well, it takes a farmer to make a farmer, too.
Sure, you can learn to farm or hunt on your own. But the culture of hunting and farming, the deep ethics, the habits of walking the land, your five senses engaged – those come from a person in reverence with the natural world, and needing to eat. The details show up over years of knowing a place, and being in relationship. Farmers and hunters see the patterns, notice the nature of the place and how the land changes.
A few years after the fire, we had beauty berry. It had never grown there before. And when the neighbor clear cut, the water changed it’s pattern across the land. To me, a good farmer is more than a business person using land to make a living. That can be done without relationship. A farmer is a person whose land provides a living, both sustenance and a way of life.
Farm School engages people of all ages through immersion on real farms, doing real work. Experience is the very best teacher. Work and play intermingle on the farm. We return, again and again, to the joy.
My sister and I rode our horses across wide open spaces, singing made up songs, swimming bareback in streams, and spending more hours mucking than we ever spent on their backs. We grew up on the land and stayed.
She was born later, and did less weeding and bean picking. She wasn’t there when we put chickens and spinach in the freezer. But she was in our family, and she still grew up to become an adult farmer.
Her farm at Big Table inspires me. It calls me on when I fear I will always rent and never have a farm of my own. She did it. Her cows are mob grazing, her land getting restored. Go Clare! Big Table Farm