Picturing Life Together – by Susan Nelson

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March 19, 2013 by susanyvivi

Originally printed in the Rural Observer.

Susan Nelson

Written by Susan Nelson

We’re all in this together. And it seems these days that together we face no end of challenges to our future well-being: food shortages, water issues, soil loss, health issues related to chronic stress, bad food and pollution, climate change related disasters, environmental degradation, economic collapse, continuing armed conflicts, political corruption, extinction of many life forms, among many others.

Even when opinions about causes or solutions differ, almost everyone agrees that the way we have been living has created a lot of problems and changes need to be made.

Although just as real, it is not quite so easy to find evidence of the turning of the tide toward constructive, creative and sustaining ways of being. Ways that bring people together not so much to look at how bad things are but rather to explore the possibilities of creating something good; a way of life that is mutually supportive, productive, strives toward sustainability, and as a side benefit, addresses many of the issues in the first paragraph. imagesThough they don’t get so much press, there are multitudes of examples in all parts of the world.

One such example is actually sprouting in Sooke at the moment. A group of folks mostly from the Sooke area but as far away as Edmonton have gotten together to dream about, talk about and now plan something that has the potential to offer a bit of an antidote to the often bitter news of the day.

ad298ca3-0b3e-45fc-9078-a37c5e269afcHere’s a picture for you. One hundred and fifty-three acres of beautiful farmland situated on the edge of a small town. A big rectangle, where you can stand at the front, which is on a quiet dead-end street, and gaze about a mile over pasture and then forest till you see the end rising up into the hills. In October if you walk from the street along a path that slopes down through the pasture to the creek you will see scores of Coho completing their journey home.

PFO3907Now let’s say it’s August and you have just arrived to the entrance of the farm. The first thing you notice is that people are scattered around participating in various activities. The farmer’s market is in full swing but you haven’t had breakfast yet so you wander over to the café and order a mushroom, spinach,  cheese and onion omelette with hash brown potatoes and a fresh-baked scone (gluten-free available too) with jam. The kids opt for corncakes with big leaf maple syrup. All of your meals were raised and prepared on the farm except for the locally roasted coffee.

DSC01844So off you go to the market to buy your next couple of day’s worth of food. You know eating fresh is the best and since the market is open 5 days a week it is easy to walk over a few times a week and pick up what you need. That’s especially true since it is always so much fun. The farm specializes in providing a full farm experience.  First and foremost is the huge variety of food products that grow from fields and gardens, from pastures and ponds, from greenhouses, hives and forests.

pygoragoatsWhile you were shopping your kids joined the group entranced by some demonstrations of farm animal work and play. Maybe today the horses are out doing some harrowing in the pastures or the pygora goats are getting a haircut or the ducklings are on parade. There’s a farm friend who is acting as a guide of sorts with information and stories about the animals.  During the week your kids enjoy the nature school that one of the farmers teaches.  And when you have friends or family with kids visiting you know that the best place for them to be is at the farm stay B&B.

1-block-homemade-cheese-lLater that week you go to the farm’s commercial kitchen to do some canning and drying and maybe take in a class on cheese making. Lots of folks in the surrounding communities go to the wide variety of classes and workshops on farm related topics and sustainability (as well as Spanish classes). You have gotten to know some of the enthusiastic apprentices who also have come to the farm for a season to learn all the skills necessary to create and maintain places like this.

A good friend of yours lives on the farm and you always like going to visit as the community of households that make up the “Farmkeepers” is a lively bunch with meals often eaten together in the “big house”. While some things like the laundry room and some tools are shared, they all have their own houses built with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind and it is interesting to see what kinds of things are possible. You have taken and used a number of ideas and practical methods of conserving on electric and gas bills.

Bam Radish_NEWThe people who operate and maintain this farm are many. Some of them live on the land and farm others live nearby and belong to the community service cooperative; some come and simply contribute their time and money. They are people who like to eat good healthy food; people who want their kids to learn and grow while having great outdoor “real life” adventures; people who see that living sustainably has many and diverse benefits; people who understand that when we learn to create lives together we create solutions that include everyone and our planet.

If you would like to help make this farm a reality please click donate above, or contact us at futurevillagefarm@hotmail.ca.

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