Q. Vic, Why are you not at the farm this year. You’ve put in years developing a market there and corresponding productive ability?
A. In a word, the market.
A. In a world where western civilization is designed to obscure the kingdom of god, immorally; The market is one of the most fake things out there. You see, the reality of the kingdom of god means that a higher power really distributes almost all food to the kingdom of god as deemed. The market is a show, and not conversant in this reality enough, or profficient enough in the joyful procurement of organics, or apprehensive of the true nature of relation between community and farm.
Thus by going to other farms this year, across America, I will gain karma towards this challenge; because I will bump markets I hope in other places; be able to deal with this industry wide issue, as well as the trade issue in general; unite agrarian control in other regions; develop contacts and spirit towards my own business; learn production and market aspect; a host of across the board issue and opportunity; and travel the country staying on farms something I have wanted to do for years: learning organic cultures, Praise the Lord.
Q. Well what about The Totten Farm?
A. There are two people, a couple, running it; and they should be consistent with several of the necessary ideals towards community relations and the meaning of organic growing. As the impression of buddist wax upon the mind can only be improved and shaped from anterior forms, so they must be partly based on what I have left, and I must go on to new shapes of buddist wax, so that not only is the mold I leave critically improved, but other out there be complementary contributed to by me.
A few notes on this subject as the year progresses.
1) Experiencing and working at a few farms this year has been enormously helpful and I believe essential to eventually becoming my own organic grower. It is very securing and confidence inducing to see different operations and different forms and styles of growing. I can not overstate how great I feel seeing other operations and not running my own. It is not that I don’t encounter new improvements every year on my own—but the exposure to different styles, and market forms and products makes me feel much more professional and confident about this business.
2) I was looking for farms in north Carolina earlier this year. I sent out emails and called scores of farms in that area. Very few of them reached back, and the one’s that did, never culminated in my working with them. The farm I did help out at was through the personal connection of a friend, God Bless Him. This phenomena is what I seek to analyze.
First of all, when people would reach out to me about wanting to volunteer on the farm, I would be very grateful and schedule them in. My policy was to be as self-reliant as possible and have everything managed within what I am capable of; and use volunteers and slightly paid labor where and when they were most needed. I tried to have a diverse stable of personnel resources; including most of my friends and acquaintances, preferred people staying and helping for a short time, actively solicited potential help, the way one actively solicits a market; and many rainbows passing through, and many people from the Sheep’s Meadow/Strawberry Fields part of Central Park NYC, knew there was a farm with an ideal of work ethic and propriety and agrarian living they could experience in their path on life; and many friends and people were thankful they had the opportunity to be on The Totem Farm.
So I was quite frustrated to see this lack of initiative in farms I contacted. They are a front, the way much of the economy is a front; for the obvious principals of the business don’t seem demonstrated. Labor burns out. It is always well to spell them with some relief. A diverse and resourceful labor pool is a professional thing for an organic grower to developed. As agrarianism is the important thing to developed, this phenomena I encountered is a trade issue we need to discuss to get a hang of.
2) At the same time I don’t want to complain or sound upset. Part of this is stimulated by the amazing and beneficial and positive 2 weeks just spent at The Stoney Brook Farm in Hillsboro Virginia–which is northern Virginia within 60 miles of DC and Baltimore. The Lord moves in mysterious ways. I am sure after years of dedication to my own practice, the lord felt a little less organic growing in April and May for me was appropriate. But I still feel there was a shoddy professionalism to the lack of response to my offer of labor from a traveling person such as myself This phenomena will be discussed and accounted for. And again I am reminded of it from the Stoney Brook farm, where I saw how depleted and rejuvenated labor resources can be; where I saw how a farm with easily a 100,000 in revenue if not 2-3 times that over a year absolutely needs help—-the contradiction between logic and reality—is Satan attacking agriculture—for reasons we have to fathom have to do with pain in the universe—and part of a grand plan.3) It is very hard to find people interested in a more agrarian society and willing to take on more severe responsibilities than volunteering and helping my organizational efforts. I mean there are organic growers through out N.J. and the states; but while the Totten Farm has looked for more people to partner with; there are not many applicants. At the end of 2009, 4 couples in their twenties applied and were interviewed for partnership positions. I was skeptical that couples could do what requires an immediate love of organic growing. Organic growing can require a hardship which the comfort of a relationship, unless handled in a mature, older, and realistic fashion, can detract and jettison. So I was happy about the interest, but would have just parlayed that interest into future interest of new applicants as the karma and growth of my efforts seem to make the farm more interesting and appealing each year.Ideally I was looking for a helper, an assistant to be there, learn the market, learn the production system, and then I could move on the following year and still guide the transition; all under the fundamental principal of making growing more popular and easy; because if managed right, it really isn’t as hard as some professionals appear to make it out on their websites; actually intimidating potential volunteers and workers; by not valuing taking care of their workers like a baseball manager takes care of his pitchers; maximizing their work and efficiency by balancing it with contrasting productive activities and understanding the weariness a long season needs to effectively combat. Strong markets, developed with spiritual basis, and experienced streamlined production techniques, can make the season much less taxing—and these ideals take years to developed and hone; but I can concretely say each year for me for five years got much easier; with noticeable improvement, relief, and reward. Well the lord seemed to want me to move on and experience other farms, which is essential for my professionalism; to be exposed to chickens, berry bushes and irrigation; from my simplicity; to have a work relationship with other professionals in the trade; and so one couple was picked to manage an operation; the finer parts of the farm given to them; and I was not really in the loop of discussion; so it was only in February that I got the bad feeling that I was moving on; which as I said, I always wanted; however if that could have been ascertained; maybe I could have helped with the transition, guided the new managers with my familiarity of the subject. But the new couple was really understanding the huge responsibilities of the operation; refused to even share the good kitchen with me; and this was folly pure and simple; for a fire started in the kitchen and burned the old house, to a repairable or unrepairable point I don’t know, certainly it is uninhabitable.
And I had to ask myself, why would organic growers, not want to have me on the farm? Organic Growers seem to understand farms require people and spirit, a lot is required, stewardship from people who have been there before to help transition. In ways, this rejection of me, was inconsistent with my understanding of organic growing.
The only two reasons I know why people would behave like this, is if they are growing pot, or doing heroin—both are about the only activities in this circumstance that would desire the privacy this new couple installed. And this would also be consistent with sweet talking the owner of the farm. To be sure, there are mountainous areas of the country where growing marijuana is customary. This is not so to New Jersey’s agriculture.
4) Seeing the compatibility between communities owning farms as opposed to individuals or couples; as the former provides labor resource and market; the concept of towns or neighborhoods going in on unsought farmland seems very attractive, and I have been working on this end. Imagine 20,000 people giving 50 dollars from Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn buying a farm. That’s a huge labor and market resource, and makes total sense, and what I working on and talking about.
I also want to say the farm I just worked at for two weeks, the stoney brook farm in Hillsboro Va, 50 miles west of DC, near Harpers Ferry, was a religious farm owned by a religious community, that had thrice daily councils and prayers and a good market. Their industry and success and effort and popularity is based on the strength and fortitude of spirituality and religious practice. The endeavlor into farming is complimented by religion. If only who they sell to can admit the realit of earth, spirituality may spread through the region and genuine harmony break out.
Reason why lack of interest from farms in labor, though natural, there is a front, and something against agriculture, the universe, so you have to be good to expose yourself to the reality humans like me offer. We don’t believe it is natural for people to be able to work a full season, but short stints, travel around, some can, seen burnout.