True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”
I know I’ll need to continue to make tiny changes in order to make headway toward my goal of self-sufficiency (pseudo-resolution #2). The more I can learn and the more I can find or produce myself, the better. Hunting and foraging are a lot of fun, and I feel better about where I’m sourcing my food when I do so, but they are not dependable sources of food (especially in the winter). Almost all of the vegetables I have been eating this winter are from small local farms.
I have visited a number of farms in the last few years, and I have worked on a farm before (Bartlett’s Farm on Nantucket Island). Still, I don’t know as much about the process as I would like. Plus, learning about farming techniques always has the added bonus of helping me with my garden when the season comes. I recently joined the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA-MN) in the hopes of filling in the gaps in my education.
The SFA-MN has a “beginning farmer” program that matches people looking to learn more about sustainable farming up with farmers who have been doing it for years. This program also provides other learning opportunities through workshops, conferences, and even land auctions.
In mid February they will be having their annual conference with panels and speakers discussing topics from urban land access to seed saving and farm-networking. There will also be culinary workshops focusing on nuts, beans, pickles, duck, and mushrooms. I’m hoping that I can make some good connections and learn as much as possible in the process.
Also in the works is a possible CSA-internship. Brianna found and met with a couple that runs a small CSA farm near my work. After having a great discussion with them about sustainable farming practices, they offered her (and me) a part-time internship at the farm. Essentially we would get some great hands-on experience with organic growing techniques, and we’d get paid to do so!
I occasionally get disillusioned by the seeming difficulty of what Brianna and I are trying to do. Especially when I’m in my cubicle, staring at the beige dividers, I sometimes think trying to pursue a life of sustainability and creative satisfaction is a naive thought. It’s through small steps though that big change is accomplished. For now, I’ll just keep putting one step in front of the other.