Godsil. I was told that you were a local farmer with a contract with Beans and Barley to sell your produce in 2008. There have been a lot of items in the news encouraging people to “buy local.” How is it that you are a farmer able to enable people at Beans and Barley to buy locally grown produce? Might you share some of this great story with us?

Huth. It’s intriguing to me to be asked this question at this time, this
exact day and moment. Farming, like anything that requires true
spiritual grit, sheer endurance and pristine attention, is not unlike a
whale-watching expedition: sometimes the water’s are calm, the views
magnificent, and the company both terrestrial and otherwise, perfectly
enchanting. At other times, your lunch flees you, as do your wits, and
that sense of calm that you wagered on the shore only seems further and
further away. Over the last 24 hours I’ve arrived back on shore from a 2
day stint of slight mania, denial, and far fewer meals for myself and
those I feed than is healthy.

Three nights ago as I sat under a tent in the Beans and Barley parking
lot, feeding some of the finest folks imaginable, the tides of LotFotL
Community Farm were being blasted by hail, ferocious rain, and whatever
else Father Sky decided to chuck at us. I returned to the farm that
evening to find 6000 lettuce heads looking like unworthy targets at a
buckshot range, onion plants bowed low to the east like the most devout
followers of vast religions, so into prayer they had forgotten to get up,
and beet greens impersonating the grasses of Lambeau Field’s frozen
tundra. The seedlings of months ago, once numbers on a spreadsheet, and
contents in a seed packet, were as my dramatic portions decided, dead,
decimated, and vanquished by the very forces that give them life. The
injustice of the situation left me feeling quite incredulous and thirsty
for flight and respite, so I took the weekend to heal, to center, and to
find merriment.

The lettuce and onions were planted to specifications for Beans and Barley
exclusively, and were to also supplement the diets of 80 households
through our CSA(community supported agriculture) program. In the lettuce’s
case, 2000 of these were paid for by Beans in advance of their planting.
Todd(General manager of lots of things at Beans, organics in particular)
and I sat down several times this winter and spring and wanted to come up
with a different way for us to collaborate on our shared needs. Out of
that was birthed a $2000 operational loan to me, paid back to Beans in
lettuce. In addition, I laid out for Beans what the soil liked to grow,
and planted based on how many votes for these crops the dollars of Beans
and Barley eaters usually demand in a given week. The year before, my
first in business for myself, Beans went from being a place I would
occasionally frequent for brunch, to my most valuable customer and one of
the strongest factors I will consider in deciding where I should
ultimately settle myself and my operation.

Tonight, having visited the fields and seen onions resurrecting from their
prayers, broccoli freshly domed and strong, and succulent beet roots
amidst the slurry of ex-leaves, I’m reminded of how far I’ve travelled,
how much adversity I’ve already overcome to get here and must continue to
endure in order to put food into the homes I’m charged with this year.
Justice in nature is the justice of nature, as it is, on its terms. What
it gives, it too must sometimes take. To Live off the Fat of the
Land(L.o.t.F.o.t.L.) is nothing more than to embrace this very simple
truth.

It’s often the case that you can’t know where you’ve been until you get
back home. The breakneck pace of this season of growth for myself, my
staff, and these wonderful plants we live with, has until now blinded me
to just how much I love this lifestyle, how badly I need and yearn for it
when any part of it goes away or is threatened, and how close my dreams
are. so long as they are guided by the blinding clarity of loving what I
do, as it is.

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on June 19, 2008

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