After spending a week immersed in farm and community I feel reinvigorated to focus on the foods going on my table. For six days we ate mostly what was grown on the farm or from other local farmers, butchering animals, milking goats, foraging fruits and vegetables, and picking still more from the garden. For six days I lived and worked side by side with 17 other people that care about food and community in a way that inspired me in countless ways.
So many times in our modern lives we think of food as just being something that comes from a grocery store, or a restaurant. The end product is so disconnected from living beings and dirt in which our produce is grown that many of us don’t give a thought to what went into the growth of that food and what is the price of that life that graces our plate. By witnessing the final breath of chickens and ducks, feeling the warmth of a freshly slaughtered lamb, squeezing milk by hand from a goat’s udder, and pulling carrots from the ground, I found a feeling of connection to food in a way I never had before.
We baked bread in the outdoor wood-fired oven, made cheese from the milk of goats that stood merely feet from the cheese room, cooked, and communed over our work together. Each morning we woke early for chores, broke for lunch and a morning meeting to discuss a daily topic ranging from biodiversity, respect, and gratitude. Each discussion helped to bring the experience together and gave way to to further thought about what is important in our food system and what we can do to connect real food with our communities. Workshops, lunch, dishes, trips to the beach, more cooking, more dishes, and spending evenings together completed each day.
It was a magical experience and I hope I can hold some of that magic within me for a lifetime.
The lamb was skinned and split in half before being aged three days, then we fabricated it.
A large part of Farm School is learning about the importance of biodiversity. Ozette potato, teton de venus tomato, trout beans, Inchelium garlic, and catalogs of seeds and livestock are all part of the diversity that provides us with a variety of tastes and nutrients benefiting the land and our bodies.