Greenjeans Farm

  (Potter Valley, California)
A free radical farmers journey
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A conversation with my oldest son

I read an interesting article yesterday, I found it on the get rich slowly site.    This tugged at my heart!  We've all been around this block,and living there at one time or another or now.  Thank God for the blessings we have and the ability to raise our heads up to look at the sky!


An opinion from my son Nick who is a law student at Gonzaga:

I've got two you probably won't like:


Being poor is a cyclical problem resulting from generations of parents who have not properly pushed their children, taken care of their children and themselves, and demanded that there children get proper educations.  


Being poor is giving up on yourself and your children because one is (1) incapable of figuring out how to succeed because no one has ever shown them or demanded it of them, (2) being physically or mentally disabled without proper care and in such a way as to limit development, and (3) so used to being given the tools to barely survive by the state that one is not interested in working towards achieving a better life.


I am not quite a republican yet, but I don't care about the symptoms of poverty, but I care about the causes.  I have worked with and for some of the poorest people in Spokane County and the problem is three-fold: 


Not enough opportunity for growth and development.  Poorer populations see a world where other people receive opportunities they do not, and they give up.  They become satisfied with subsidized housing as long as there TV has HBO.  Then they have kids who grow up in an environment that enforces, every day, a declaration: you can not achieve what you want. 


Systematic exploitation of poor communities.   Ever since there were poor people and rich people the rich have determined new and innovative ways to screw the poor to take every last penny they have.  Examples of this are sub prime mortgages, rent to own furniture, and check cashing places.


Acceptance.  This is kind of related to the first one.  When poor people see they don't have anything, they get used to it and stop trying.  The difference is the responsibility for the first one, to a certain extent, rests with all of us.  This one, however, rests squarely on the shoulders of the poor communities themselves.  It is a generational problem and with each generation of SSDI and subsidized housing children learn, don't go to school or work, chill out at home, drink booze, watch TV, and don't worry about it.  Because if you try, you will just be disappointed.  


The point I am trying to make is if all the people who pointed out the symptoms of poverty spent that energy trying to fix it, even on the smallest of scales, we all good contribute to a better world.  The systems are in place to help.


<and I climb off my soapbox>

My Answer:

I totally agree with you.  It’s the “why try” mentality which is caused by generations of getting slapped down, and being expected to be stupid, and having the person make the fast buck on your back.  It is sitting in your living room because it is the most safe place you can be with your tv.   It is the (not so) “funny” joke at the expense of a childs self esteem when you should be building children up “OH Look you got a B”  “How the hell did that happen?”.  How did the abnormal become the norm?   It is all of us not being able to reach out a neighborly hand.  NOT a “helping hand”, but a caring neighborly hand. It’s buying a pair of  new basketball shoes for a kid who cannot afford them, no big deal and that kid takes that gift into the rest of her life. A freakin plate of Christmas cookies!  A bag of tomatoes.  Sticks that turn into roses!!    


Also being poor is being so self absorbed that you cannot enjoy the sun in your face.  And that has nothing to do with money.  Being poor is living within your self and not being able to experience the world or a bird, Laughing,  or a funny look on a dogs face or hearing the  unbridled laughter of children  or even the ducks across the street which is my most treasured music in the world.  Those are the poorest people of all.


I have one picture of you kids that I hold dear to my heart.  It was your high school graduation  day.  That is probably the most poor time we have ever had.  You were there in slacks and a nice shirt and tie and sunglasses.  Your brother Christian in jeans and a tee shirt.  Your sister in my old boots which at the time were the only shoes she had and a pair of who knows who’s boxers and a tank top, and Joey just enjoying a sunny day on the patio!  You are all (except Joey) standing there with your fingers down your throats like this sucks!  Look at you now. (two lawyers, an Ag Business major, and a 15 year old who is on track for college!)       


SOOOOOO I’m starting here with a commitment. We have produce, lots!  We have 4 paid subscriptions so far this year (we are actually at a profit so far, seeds and trees and all.  All we need for GJ is another load of Spy Rock and maybe some more potting soil!   ) We have plenty to share and feed us too.  Nobody should have to choose between paying a bill and eating and yet it happens all around us all the time.  I’m actively looking for people in that spot.  Not for self gratification, but because I can help.  I would certainly want some one to help me if I were in that position and people have when we were in that position.    You know I love to teach people about what we do here.   Our neighbors!  I am sure I will get a couple of wonderful recipes or growing tips out of the whole thing, and probably make a couple of friends!  We always have seed I have started that I do not plant because of room or variety constraints, so people can have them for their own garden if they wish.  It’s no fun to have all this and not share further than we already do!  And I’m not talking adopt a family, I’m talking having an open door (heart).   Open heart is going to become my new hobby.  Attitude of Gratitude.  Great, your mom is going to become a door knocker.  “Hey I have food, do you want some?” 






This year at Greenjeans Farm we are going to conduct a commitment!  We will give away a share for every share we sell.  We know there are families in our area who have to choose sometimes between paying a bill and food.  No one should have to have that worry.  We are asking Potter Valley residents to connect us with people who would benefit from our commitment!  No strings. 


Poor is a situation, poverty is a way of life.         
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