Posted by: A Part of the Solution | April 23, 2010

Farming as Entertainment

This farm has a Community Supported Agriculture arm to its operations. It isn’t just the farm manager and me growing a few veggies for our own plates. And the farm is also a B&B (the website goes live around midnight on April 24, 2010). We don’t have the luxury of farming for ourselves, or even farming to feed others who never see the place–as is likely with the people working at farmers’ markets. Our farming is in part a form of entertainment.

We’re hoping to make the farm a place people go to get away from urban cares. We see the farm as a place where visitors can learn and do and help in a genuinely hands-on way. But this perspective changes how the farm operates. We have to incorporate safety and hygiene into all our farm practices, in a way that might not be necessary if it were just us chickens on the premises. We have to keep the house immaculately clean and in good working order on every point in order to host folks here successfully. We have to be able to explain what we’re doing, why and how we’ll know if we did a good job of it. Farming as entertainment is hard work.

But it’s also necessary work in these modern times. Our culture is so heavily urbanized, people very often don’t know what a working farm looks like. They don’t have a clear idea of how a chicken passes the time when she isn’t laying her eggs. They don’t know why some produce grows better up on the ridge, or over in the dell, or down by the creek. The farm entertains the notion of educating individuals on these points of farming–and many, many others.

In the last few years, many people have become interested in finding out where their food comes from. In many instances, they want to know how their food looked and what it liked when it was alive. People want to know how their food, plant or animal, is treated before it’s dinner: does it have a diet favorable to its requirements for health? does it have an environment suitable to growth and fulfillment of morphic predisposition? does it have dignity?

As a culture, we’re beginning to understand that there’s a lot of chemical exposure in every aspect of modern life. We’re beginning to wonder about the cumulative effect of breathing in air flavored with the by-products of combust petroleum. We’re beginning to long for a life more quiet and less fraught. This farm represents a way-station of this new awareness. We want people to want to know about the way of life that grows and manages our food until it comes to our tables. So we have become entertainers as well as farmers.

Come on out to a farm. Let the farmers entertain you. You can meet a chicken. You can watch the apples grow. You can plant, and transplant here–farms have lots of plants wanting attention from anyone who has time and care to give.

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