Agropraxis Farm

  (Scotts, Michigan)
A Ultra-Low Carbon input farm using Eco-Bio methods.
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Chnage is Constant

In the 90’s an executive was addressing a workshop at an industry convention. A question about all of the changes in the industry was put forward. The executive had a great answer that has helped me and others. His advice on change had more to do with attitude. The sooner you accept change as a constant the better you’ll be at handling change and preparing for the future. Ever since, change has become a constant. How I handle and adapt to the change is up to me.  

 

This spring has been one of handling and adapting to change. Weather, markets, and economy have had profound impacts. My usual spring work begins when the ground is workable. That didn’t occur till mid-April, a full 2 weeks later than any of the last 12 years. We’ve had major weather systems move through. Before global weirding the systems were more low key. Now they are super systems that rival tropical storms. Hail in April, straight line winds over 60mph, rain at rates that ponds and moves with erosive power. On a regular basis! Keeping row cover over tender crops has been a challenge. One day the winds are 30mph with gusts from one direction then the weather changes and it blows harder from another direction. Yes, I’m adapting as best I can.

 

Keep planting, keep working, the season is not the next few weeks, rather it is months of changing opportunities. Kind of a motto I remind myself of. So resiliency and good work habits have some impact on handling the changes. Thoughtfulness and planning help too. One of our changes was a move to a new facility for our Friday Farmers Market. A Timber Framed Marketplace now houses the market. The market managers work to appease the concerns of the vendors. Of course issues arise, feelings and egos get bruised. I missed the first week with outside obligations. In the last 4 weeks I have been in 3 different locations, had busy weeks and some of the slowest weeks since I’ve been at the market. My satisfaction is a concern of the Market Managers. I’m not sure that they grasp my underlying uneasiness that the change may have had some real positives but also negatives. Vendors increased to 33 from around a stable 20. The increase was all Cottage Food type businesses. The Market now has just 7 farmers. My comment to recruit more (other markets certainly do) farmers brought the response, “Well, we may have to.” The sense of success is tempered with a slow recognition that the foundation of the Farmers Market, farmers offering fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses and eggs, is being changed to a flea market that has a few desperate farmers trying to unload excess produce. Not a growing market that attracts customers from increasing distances.

 

The natural world has to adapt to the changes or perish. So the adaptability of our pollinators, butterflies and birds are indicating a stressed situation. For a long time this spring the only pollinators observed were the natives. No Apis Mellifera, honey bees. They finally started to be in evidence in early June. They are occasionally seen on the clovers. Occasional observation are also made of Monarch butterflies. A few have visited the Milkweed stands that are preserved in our fields. Only a few….though it was thrill to see a Giant Swallowtail working through the crimson clover last week.  I’m happy to hear the Bobolink adding their song to the Meadowlark and Song Sparrow tunes that create my background symphony on the farm. Change is constant, I hope for the positive kind!

 

Farmer Pete

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