F.A. Farm

  (Ferndale, Washington)
Postmodern Agriculture - Food With Full Attention
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How Do I Grow Food?

This post is the last in my series of "Who, what, when, where, why and how." I hope you have enjoyed the progression.


In the larger view, we have to be careful how involved we become in electronic media. It may be a valid gateway to getting things done, but we need to use the tried-and-true methods of human instruction on a face-to-face level. These methods are usually some form of walking and talking, as well as talking and doing. This means the standard lecture series where you have someone in front of a class explaining things to a group of interested people. Even better is to take a page from Socrates, who walked and talked with his students in the agora (the Greek public square and market) and could integrate necessary questions of how to live right there in the context of making a living in the marketplace. This is the necessary intersection of ideas and actions. Going to a class is still a valid way to get instruction, but you really do have to have a human up there in front, not just a screen.

Even better is to learn by doing. It is quite possible and even highly desirable to get instruction while engaged in handwork. This can mean, for instance, learning about archaeology by working in the field. Another viable method for our context of feeding ourselves is to go out to work on a farm or market garden. If you are in Whatcom County, Washington, you can come out to my farm and learn about food production while you work. Currently, we are in the midst of planting, but there are things to do in other seasons. For those of you reading this blog in other parts of the country, you could certainly call around to other farmers close to you and go out to help them. This will allow you to learn production techniques on the ground and at to your own pace. I highly recommend this option. Book learning, electronic media, and just experimenting on your own are all valuable, but you start ahead of the game by helping out a farmer who is already doing the hard work on the ground. This is part of what is known as "doing the real work." Not only are you doing physical work, but you are also re-orienting your spirit.

So . . . a relatively inexpensive mode of instruction where you learn by putting in your energy. This is similar to what farming really is. You put in your energy ahead of time, rather than just going out and harvesting whatever is available. In a world where what is available is going downhill in both quantity and quality, putting in your energy before harvest makes good sense.
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