Today the kids and I drove to meet another friend named Tricia to work for the day at a local organic farm in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee called Sequatchie Cove Farm. What an incredibly gorgeous November day in Tennessee! The sky was such an amazing shade of blue with absolutely not a cloud in the sky. Many of the trees still have their leaves on them as we drove down I-24 early this morning I appreciated all the different shades of dark brown, golden yellow and deep red as we passed. I had heard many wonderful stories about this farm but had not had the opportunity to visit there until today. Our GPS took us down some little winding country roads until we found a handmade sign with the street name we were searching for and another hand made sign that said, "Please DO NOT drop off DOGS here!"
We pulled up and found a place to park and walked over to a field to find some folks working. There were two adults and two kids. The kids are local homeschooled kids who work every thursday on the farm. I actually knew one of the adults a really wonderful guy my husband and I had met at SVI back in May of 2008 before we became a Family on the Road and the other adult was Padgett from the farm. Everyone was pulling up dead plant material and making a pile. Much to my children's pleasure there were many farm dogs already present. We all worked together, talking laughing and as the sun warmed up we found ourselves shedding our jackets and sweaters. My friend, Tricia was working in another field picking arugula with two other ladies.
When we finished in the areas we were working, we all met up at the trading post part of the farm. Arugula was being washed and dried. In the area where we had been doing fall clean up work so a cover crop could be planted there had been some sorghum stalks that were beautiful purply green and pale yellow. We had cut the sorghum and tied it up on poles of the porch of the trading post for decoration. Everyone was talking and sharing recipes and ideas about food. The kids were learning all of the names of all of the dogs running around. And it struck me in a place deep down in my soul...this is the kind of place where everyone's food should come from. Not some sterile flourescently lit showcase of psuedo food that's made up of 59 different configurations of genetically modified corn products. But a place like this where folks in the community work together, where people smile, laugh and sweat together. Where people put passion into what is grown and sold.
Later all of us jumped on the back of the truck with several dogs and all the kids and rode out to a field still basking in the serenity of the intensely blue sky. Padgett the super cool and really nice farm lady who was thrilled to have so many helping hands gave us all tasks to do. Everyone worked together taking down the trellises for the pepper plants. My gypsy daughter delighted in picking peppers and filling up her skirt as she danced down the garden rows to place them into the baskets. One of my 10 yr. old sons was relishing every moment and every little new thing he was being shown how to do out in that field today. The other one was devising ways to turn his hoodie backwards to provide him with a place to put picked produce.
And again it struck me in a place deep down in my soul...places like this are where and how food is suppose to be cultivated. Places where people WANT to be there, places where joy abounds! Because it's all energy and that energy is attached to that food. And Oh! God! Yes! I want to eat JOY! I don't want to eat "I hate my job" or "I'm treated like a slave" food. I mean I'm not even gonna address chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, overprocessed, GMO, antibiotic, hormone added, plastic wrapped, flourescent lit, mass produced, shipped 1K mile food. I'm just talking about the pure energy and intent behind the food. Is food handled by a beautiful human that has joy in their heart going to nourish and heal me or is food handled by metal, machines and slave labor going to nourish me body and soul?
As a gypsy mama I can tell you that these little local sustainable farmers are EVERYWHERE. You just have to open your eyes and look, it might take a little planning or effort but what in life that's worth something doesn't require a little effort. Every growing season more and more of them are popping up to fill the need where our bodies and our souls are screaming out for this kind of real food. Real farmers. Real families.
Cooking, eating, bowing our heads and blessing and showing thanks for something so visceral, so basic that we can't live without it...the thing that nourishes us. So we left today with some fantastic farm food and a new bumpersticker for our truck that says, "Take Back the F-Word...Real Food, Real Farms, Real People" Thank you Bill Keener of Sequatchie Cove Farm for that...thank you for caring about Food, about Farms, and about Family these are some F-Words I can get behind!.
I want to end this with the blessing my future organic farmer 10 yr.old son read as we bowed our heads in thanksgiving tonight:
Ghandi once said, "What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, no matter how inconsistent it may appear. My commitment is to Truth, not to consistency." May we, like Ghandi, see our lives as a series of experiments with the truth and make every effort to align our choices with the deeper truths of the universe.
I was so into enjoying every moment of this delicious day that I forgot to take pictures with my regular camera but did capture a few pics on my cell phone that are on my http://twitpic.com/photos/5bearsgousa if you want to see!