Mott Family Farm

  (Salesville, Ohio)
Choosing the Simple Life
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Wendell's Wisdom

(from Jeff)

While millions of farmers have been driven from the land in the last decades, we believe it is necessary for millions to go back. We hope our success will spur many aspiring farmers to  live their dream and help take back our food supply and culture.

As we have undertaken the challenge of managing a farm, the learning curve has been steep and painful at times feeling like it will break us. We care for animals, order seeds, grow plants, improve soil, make hay, fertilize, prune, thin, weed, mow, coordinate workers and interns, harvest, clean, pack and deliver CSA crates, set up farmers' markets, describe heirloom varieties of fruits and veggies, provide recipes and preserve food. All the while, we see community and culture forming and improving. It's amazing how much of life and culture revolves around food. We want to see our small farm established that others may pop up all around to provide nourishing delicious fare to all who need it and to elebrate together the goodness of God as we enjoy our journey of life. I hadn't realized how much I would need community and passed-down wisdom and that this may take generations, not merely months, to establish!

The following quote is from one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry, and it describes the shift in our country through industrialization and the need to return to the land: "It is by the measure of culture, rather than economics or technology, that we can begin to reckon the nature and the cost of the country-to-city migration that has left our farmland in the hands of only five percent of the people. From a cultural point of view, the movement from the farm to the city involves a radical simplification of mind and of character.

A competent farmer is his own boss. He has learned the disciplines necessary to go ahead on his own, as required by economic obligation, loyalty to his place, pride in his work. His workdays require the use of long experience and practiced judgment, for the failures of which he know that he will suffer. His days do not begin and end by rule, but in response to necessity, interest, and obligation. They are not measured by the clock, but by the task and his mastered intricate formal patters in ordering his work within the overlappying cycles--human and natural, controllable and uncontrollable--of the life of a farm.

Such a man, upon moving to the city and taking a job in industry, becomes a specialized subordinate, dependent upon the authority and judgment of other people. His disciplines are no longer implicit in his own experience, assumptions, and values, but are imposed on him from the outside...The strict competences of independence, the formal mastery, the complexities of attitude, and know-how necessary to life on teh farm, which have been in the making in the race of farmers since before history, all are replaced by the knowledge of some fragmentary task...

Such simplification of mind is easy. Given the pressure of economics and social fashion that has been behind it and the decline of values that has accompanied it, it may be said to have been gravity-powered. The reverse movement--a reverse movement is necessary, and some have undertaken it--it is uphill, and it is difficult. It cannot be fully accomplished in a generation. It will probably require several generations--enough to establish complex local cultures with strong communal memories and traditions of care.

The Unsettling of America, Wendell Berry; Sierra Club Books, 1986;pp. 44-45

 
 
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