Growing Something Bigger

Learning butchering with Cole Ward

It’s been a busy few weeks on the farm. In the fields and pastures we’ve been wrapping up the season and transitioning to winter and while the number of moving pieces is decreasing, each one is becoming more challenging. At the same time we’ve had a lot of other things going on; the first indoor market, the Red Tail Ring concert and Taco Night, the start of a new yoga series, a day of custom cutting followed by a butchering class with Cole Ward, and a neighborhood potluck. Events like this are rewarding and challenging for the farm; we usually just cover our costs and the time and energy required, on top of what it takes to keep the farm running, making hosting them a tough call. Yet each and every time we have one, we are reminded why it is so important to do so.

Penelope and Mark Farley working on Mark's code before farmshare pickup

Community is part of our bottom line – we want you all to share our farm, creating more opportunities for all of us to share our lives in an increasingly fragmented and isolating world. Each Thursday at farm share pickup our members come and get their food for the week but it’s more than a quick in and out or a simple money-for-goods exchange. At the farmstand parents at all stages of their journeys share advice and stories, finding supportive friends and a team of understanding and enthusiastic cheerleaders. Kids run around drawing their favorite animals on the floor. For Halloween our staff and members of all ages came in costume and we had a great time taking pictures and playing games – sharing costume ideas for next time and telling stories of years past. At the farmstand, we collaborate; sharing recipes; troubleshooting, studying for tests, and even debugging recursive computer programs together.

Cole Ward and his son, Todd, at the farmstand after a long day of butchering

The community map in progress

Attendees of our events cut a wide cross-section of our community; notably diverse in every way, friendly and welcoming, a mix of members and new faces. At the butchering class, precious knowledge that has been slipping away between generations was able to be captured and shared. At the potluck Kati and Carl brought together residents of the greater Loop Road neighborhood to make a map of our area including roads, houses, trails, natural features, waterways, and more; plans were made for outings and game nights, opportunities to get to know one-another and share our resources. This was especially wonderful and surprising for me: I’ve never lived someplace where I know (or can come to know) everyone I pass on my run, where the default relationship with neighbors is friendly and welcoming. At the Red Tail Ring concert our farm family sat shoulder to shoulder, tapping our feet along; hearing Laurel and Michael sing about holding to the land, about big dreams and about the magic that happens when a community comes together, surrounded by people who are living those stories, day in and day out, was a poignant experience.

Two Witches, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion shopping the farmstand

We hope you too have been enjoying the farm and the events this season and if you missed out we hope you’ll be able to come visit soon (it’s never too late). Because while we’re growing food for our community we’re also growing something bigger and we thank you all for being a part of it; we couldn’t do it without you.