It is true that this blogging journey (see ‘About’) began with my experience as a sheep farmer from 2000 to 2007 when I was also operating a local food deli. It transformed to looking not only at the miracle of food and farming, but looking for the miracle of life. This blog here speaks more directly to the roots of this blogging journey, the conversation about farm viability, that does not seem to have a resolution in the context of Soul of Place and preservation of our landscapes.
Farm viability is different for everyone, but I think we can all agree on one thing: if you can’t make a living, nothing else matters. In order to attract new entrants to farming and keep junior farmers on the family farm, we need to tell our stories, our stories of success and joy on the farm, and our stories of loss.
Thus, for the purposes of this work, I have chosen John Ikerd’s definition of the viable farm:
The new farm economics of today is about making enough profit to meet the material requisites for a desirable quality of life while building healthy relationships within farm families and with employees, customers, neighbors, and society. The new farm economics is about taking care of the land, caring for farm animals, and being good stewards of nature while meeting the agricultural needs of human society. The new farm economics treats farming as a business, but more importantly, as a way of life.
In addition to being viable, anyone who works as close to the land, the earth, her creatures, and nature, as does a farmer, lives and breathes the Golden Rule – that our decisions are based on meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland Commission, United Nations. 1987). Ikerd translates this by defining three cornerstones: ecological soundness, economic viability, and social responsibility, which “rest upon a foundation of intergenerational equity.” This, he argues, “applies the Golden Rule across generations,” which partially defines resilience, if we also bring Earth as a living organism into the equation.
As I move forth in this blog, more pillars show up, especially as a result of a Nuffield scholarship from which I propose a five pillar model, as well as reflect more and more on relationship, rather than simple “pillars.” This lead me to returning to school to complete a Master’s degree to truly uncover what lay beneath what I perceived to be a “don’t care” attitude toward the earth.
It is with these definitions that I build this blog and begin my journey.
Please join me. Kaytlyn