In my early days of gardening I was fascinated with the idea of zero waste, closed loop systems and agroecology. They were ideas that appealed to me because of the ways in which they viewed nature – as a partner, something to work with and not against. This notion of working with something instead of against it captured my mind, and forced me to think differently. When working with people we learn to change them, when working with natural systems we learn to change ourselves.
A former front lawn converted to a market garden, an area roughly the size of a football field. Growing up on this land since the age of 5, I watched as each sibling would mow the lawn. At first with a push mower, which I was fortunate enough to be too young to remember, and eventually my father purchased a riding mower. A beautiful green lawn for half the year and a field of star thistle during the summer. Although most of the lawn is gone and converted to beds for crop production the beauty of the market garden far outshines the lawn on even it’s best day.
As I look back on the start of this gardening exploration I often wonder where all the time has gone. Working with the living systems to benefit each other mutually is a time honored way of living a fulfilled life. There is no greater purpose than to serve one another while caring for the land. I consider my profession as a farmer, someone who works with the earth to provide a nourishing harvest for his community, to be the highest honor. I am grateful to be where I am because of where I came from.