Today is the beginning of a new season in my life. A door has been opened to me. I have decided to live my dream: to devote my life to growing food. Nothing brings me joy and satisfaction quite like turning the rawest ingredients into the most delicious delicacies, and doing it in a way that is as socially and environmentally positive as possible.
The form this goal will take isn't certain. I have a couple of different bold visions for how I could make this happen. But all of them focus around growing food based on these principals.
- Grow delicious food. Fresh, well-cared-for food is tastier and a joy to the soul.
- Use science. I trust deeply in the power of science to guide (but not dictate) our decisions when sufficient high fidelity data is available.
- Innovate. By bringing my technological chops into this endeavor, I can make use of the benefits of automation, data collection, and collaboration.
- Respect humans. Much of our agricultural economy is based on disparities of human station. It is time for us to become a world where all people can thrive.
- Respect nature. We must respect the interconnected web of life of which we are all a part.
- Question. Inspect preconceptions carefully and make decisions in a rational manner.
- Grow efficiently. Aside from the benefit provided to nature in preserving resources, efficiency can help to keep prices down and to do more with our finite capital (i.e. land).
- Share. Sharing information, resources, and surpluses will make the sum of us greater than our individual parts.
Will the end result of this be a conventional farm? Or something completely different? Well, I expect I'll have many more treatises on this subject. But here are my immediate "next steps".
- Do a proper fall cleanup in the yard. I love my weed burner, by the way. More on that later.
- Prepare for the arrival of Joel and Felicia's chickens! My friends are moving and need a home for their girls. We've considered this for a long time and now is the perfect opportunity. More on that too.
- Finish the Master Gardener and Small Farm training programs through extension. Continue taking classes and networking.
- Finish Master Gardener volunteer hours.
- Ramp up compost production. I actually started vermicompost (worm compost) just last week.
- Set up a rainwater collection system.
- Build some greenhouses for spring.
- Start a pilot project for one or more alternative growing techniques.
- Document everything!
- Start developing a formal plan for how to scale this up!
Well, that's the short version anyway. Expect to hear a lot more. Whee!