From the Fiery Belly of the Small-Scale Organic Farm

I am frustrated by the lack of nutritious, non-destructive foods in our pantry on the farm. There is a contingency that negatively affects the environment and/or ourselves in each product we have stored away from the grocery store, while we peer over fields of naturally occurring nutritious abundance.

I am frustrated that we overlook this and consume products that essentially undermine the very vision we strive to implement. I am also frustrated that annual agriculture is so labor intensive, to the point of causing undue stress upon those cultivating the earth and harvesting the vegetables. And that this is the most positive economically relevant and socially recognized work is even more discouraging: we are forced to labor in stress while gradually diminishing the resources we care for, we receive far less benefits/assistance than mass-producing destructive farms that produce nutritionally inadequate food, individuals/restaurants consuming our vegetables are enchanted by the colorful fruits of our labor that are thoroughly scrubbed clean of any residual dirt and vendor’s grimace of exhaustion, and the suction towards failure looms as every new season and crop present new risks and unforeseen cataclysms that threaten to unravel the entire neat and intensely controlled system meant to fit into the crates and cubic containers that are immediately recognizable and dollarizable for any earning citizen also in the web of collective fear that inhibits us from stepping beyond the façade of the idea of money to reassess what is truly valuable under each one of our nose’s and knowledge range. Finally, I am frustrated that the subtle interplay of flavors and vegetables that we croon and pluck so diligently every day for the benefit of society’s health and satiety is ignored, and that even I find myself perusing alternatives to the farm vegetables out of apathy and craving. I feel that I could not be an annual farmer because it would require monotonous stressful tasks and immature biological successions that can be easily set back by variations in weed, pest, and weather conditions that will only grow more volatile as the climate is steadily destabilized by unique human contributions to the atmosphere. Therefore, I feel insecure about the future of healthy food as untenable small-scale organic farms offer a hope too faint to spark a fundamental change in the way humanity eats. We don’t have to set aside certain individuals to devote their entire physical being to repetitive meddling in immature biological patterns that produce a certain set of fruiting iterations to which we’ve grown accustomed; instead, we ought to replunge into the forest and wildlands, the “wilderness” that is actually the extension of our own beings and deeper foundation of our bodily, mental, and spiritual health. It is there that our meddling could reestablish the bilateral resonance we rely on with the natural world, and allow for plants to do the complex labor of optimizing crop quantities, pest encroachments, and even the effects of us. Even on this biodynamic farm, money is salient and a major if not the major goal of every work day. The grip of economics thrusts the farmer unwillingly into the kale field at any unreasonable occasion to thrash some more recovering stalks for their ever more porous and tired limbs, limply fanning beneath the sky glow before being whisked away to a blender in a clean justified kitchen for a contemporarily infallible concoction: the kale smoothie.

Kale

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