Posted on

Fairview Gardens Sustainability

This word, “sustainability” is getting thrown around so much these days I wonder if we really know what it means. The EPA defines sustainability as:

“Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.
Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.”

This kind of statement should be self evident as a modality for continued survival on our small planet.
One glaring omission is the constraints on the lifestyle that we currently lead. Without much effort it is clear that our current lifestyle is not sustainable. We are depleting our natural “bank account” at such a rapid rate, we will hit zero soon (or perhaps we are already into the overdraft).

Agriculture has been implicit in this move towards disconnection and unrealistic lifestyle. The origins of organic agriculture in California have very high goals and aspirations. It seemed to be a move towards the kind of sustainability that I think we intuitively understand. Sadly, this has not been the case.
Organic agriculture has been commercialized and commodified to a very similar extent that conventional agriculture has. There are still the small family farms that hold to the tenets of sustainability with on site composting, crop rotation, cover cropping and biological pest control, however the drive to intensify production for profit leans very heavily on maintaining natural systems in a farming operation.

Stay tuned for more…..

Posted on

Do It Well

Fairview Gardens is an amazing farm.  I’m still totally in love with the land, and watching it change over the last two turns of the earth has only help me to know how little I know that land. Everything about farming is about life and death, in equal proportions.

In a recent retreat at Casa de Maria there was a quote from a saint who in his last sermon was talking about how the wheat seed put in the ground must die to be reborn as a plant.  In dying the seed really begins to live.  Without death we can know no abundance.  I marvel at how much I hold onto life and keeping things alive and forget the magic and power of dying.  My uncle farmed the same land for 62 years.  He knew more about death than anyone I know.  It didn’t phase him at all.  He wasn’t afraid of it, didn’t shirk from it, and in the end welcomed it with open arms.

He taught me that no one ever knows how to grow food.  No one ever is an expert.  At best we can hope to be someone who supplicant to nature and the earth’s rhythms. The art in this is learning how to do it well.

Spring is bowing to summer’s entrance and our fields fill up with food whispering at the coming corn feasts, apricot juice dripping down my arm and ripe tomatoes piled high in our farm stand.

Come join us on the farm and listen to the corn grow!