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Notes from the Field: A School of Motion

Envision, Plan, Plant and Cultivate. Seed, Water, Weed and Observe. Harvest! by Blain Snipstal, Farm Assistant

Movement and motions are the actions of that process that brings us from point A – to – point B, that brings one from their beginning to their end, and back. As farmers, we work to move in a rhythm of cycles and circles, methodologies and philosophies. We strive to find the order in the chaos of agriculture, to find a balance within the dynamics of nature and her ecosystems. Sometimes this can be as easy as prepping the beds, laying down irrigation (lay flat), sowing the seeds and harvest. Other times it can be as frustrating as chopping down wanted plants, forgetting to water at key moments, missing planting windows, poor soil management, unorganized and inefficient systems, overgrown weeds and on. All is in motion.

These motions of movements and actions, which play out on the farm, can also be translated to our everyday lives, off the farm. This translation, at least for the farmer, can be a tough road to navigate in the midst of a season.

I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Ecosystem farm community since the end of July. This puts my time there at just around a month. I came in just after the accident. For the farm, it lost two stewards to the soil, and in return, it received one.

It has been a challenge to step right in and catch-up to the movement and motion of Becky and Sky, of the farm and the land, and of the dynamic between the two. It has been a first for me, one which I am enjoying, and one which I have been learning a tremendous amount from (all the while making many mistakes). However, just as there is a motion to the movement of the dynamics surrounding the farm, so too is there a dynamic to my presence there. This is one I am just learning now.

A farmer, like the life of the individual within society, brings a new twist to the puzzle, a different way of walking and moving, a new interpretation of movement and motion. Yet, this new interpretation must figure out how it is to weave itself into the fabric of its new place, and in this case, the fabric of the farm. I’m young, on the verge of 24. I’ve been diving into agriculture since I was 18. I have had the opportunity to farm in 3 different regions in the interim. But, now I’m here, and here, I believe, is the epitome of my focus. We all face this moment, of maintain presence and being in the now—wherever and however that now manifests. The challenge, perhaps, is not in finding the space for oneself but rather seeing oneself in that space of the now.

On and off the farm, we all subscribed to rhythms and dances, movements and motions and unexpected twists, of ourselves and of others, of our community and of society. This subscription gives contours to our character, valleys to our souls. Our success is not just in the commitment to continue through it all but to learn from the many mistakes and challenges that will happen, and hopefully, not repeat them.

This past Tuesday, I felt the early signs of the changing seasons; a crisp breeze brushed my face, a family of bald eagles sang in the distance and the maple leaves began to carry partial tints of red, mahogany and orange hues. We have our fall plantings in seed trays, in the ground and in our minds (and in the mouth of some pesky caterpillars). The river pump is working reliably and the winter squash are growing nicely. All of these, and more, are signs to the changing seasons and the new movements and motions of the farm and the stewards of it.

Plan, Plant, Cultivate. Observe, Harvest, Process. Repeat!

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