More than a couple of decades have passed since I first planted a seed. I was searching for a food experience that had slipped out of my life when as a young adult I started life on my own. That seed began a journey of learning and experimenting that continues. The natural world that we grow food in has complexity and simplicity that challenges our intellect. We study and draw conclusions that are valid for a certain set of conditions. Change the conditions and we may find ourselves again trying to fathom the scope of factors that impact our practice of growing food.
The learning turns to books and trying to incorporate what other food growers have done during the shorter days. I was able to check out of the local Library, Sustainable Market Farming, by Pam Dawling. I’ve checked out many different books and had inter-Library loan get some titles to study. Most have a few things to help in learning. Sometimes a book has little value and I’m grateful that the Library could get it and I didn’t have to buy it. This recent read is a gem. Pam Dawling is an incredibly experienced farmer of organic vegetables and writes about her craft and understanding in a manner that helped me learn quite a bit. The book references many useful sources that allow for future learning. With decades of experience I consider her mastery of growing one to value.
So wouldn’t you figure that a thought crossed my mind the other day when I was in a school. The thought was about these kids and their I-Pads. They have them to incorporate the new technology into the learning curriculum. You know, give them an edge in learning and job skill development. What I see is a connected group with incredible gaming skills. They are all experts on their I-pads and games. Instant experts you could say. And the thought was that we also are creating instant experts on farming as well. With the wealth of internet information we have a new group of farmers that are suddenly expert at growing and learning about farming. I admit I’ve used the internet to expand my understanding. But, true learning and understanding comes from the practice of the principles of organic and biological farming. Pam Dawling has decades of experience at multiple places to draw on. I feel that the journey of understanding is a truly long one that can be aided by the internet but true learning is in the practice of growing and mistakes we make to learn from. The young farmers are lucky to access so much from the internet, and many are great at debating the points they have learned. I still think time and mistakes are important in educating farmers. And the sage advice of those who mastered their craft and continue to learn. With a few decades I too may have mastery in reach.