Every week I love Wednesday’s a little more. The day starts off with a drive out to Pungo to pick up our CSA box for the week. This weeks pickup: Beets, Carrots, Kale, Squash, Swiss Chard, Turnips, and Parsley.
When I grow up, I want to be a farmer.
The smell of the earth is unbelievable. I hope I never get sick of it. I hope I never grow so accustom to it that I can’t smell it anymore. While our veggies are still resting in the cooler, I must stick my head inside of it a dozen times to just smell. Earth, fresh veggies covered in dirt and bugs, is my new favorite smell.
When we pull up the dirt driveway, I want to kick off my shoes. I want to run up and down each row of vegetables barefoot. I want to play hide and seek in the sunflower patch. I want to race to the tree line. I’ll race you to the tree line! Go! I would be more than happy to pick all the fresh beans of the bush and eat them all before I get back to my car.
The combination of earth, soil, veggies, and wide open space is a tiny sanctuary in the busy world. Time stands still. Life feels organic. It feels real. The stresses and the burdens that exist on the farm (that I’m completely oblivious to as I stare off into the distance each Wednesday) all feel very real and manageable as opposed to the self-imposed daily life stress of my normal life.
In our CSA newsletter this week, Farmer John’s wife, Kathleen, talks about “What Organic Is”.
“When you grow using organic methods, there isn’t just one thing you can do to deal with challenges.” So many times in our culture, if something is broken, we throw it out and get a new one, or we complain, or we hope we can find a quick fix for our bum shoulder, or our indigestion. But when you grow organically, there is so much to learn. It’s practically endless. So when someone asks you to define “organic”, we need to think of the word as it characterizes a system of planting, managing, and growing.
As I read the newsletter today, my brain kept wandering to the thought: Isn’t this true for everyone? Shouldn’t we all be striving to live an organic life? Day in and day out we are all faced with challenges. Things break. Life can appear to crumble. There is no quick fix for any of these problems.
Organic means a system unique to each farm or garden.
If we all strive to live our own organic life, how good could we feel? Would we all smell as good as the earth (figuratively speaking of course)?
So how do we do live an organic life?
Step #1 – Eat Clean. Read the labels. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it.
Step #2 – Incorporate any form of exercise that makes you feel alive
Step #3 – Think. Use your brain. Read books. Practice Yoga. Have real conversations with your friends.
Step #4 – Listen to your body. Once our bodies are rid of all the “fake” ingredients, it has an amazing way of telling you exactly what it needs.
I would argue that this is unique to each individual, but the staples that are needed for an organic life are consistent with the staples needed to grow an organic farm. Every organic farm must meet the same criteria to truly be organic, but it is up to the farmer to discover the balance between each and every one of these elements. It is up to the farmer to create the magic combination to sustain a successful farm. We have all heard it over and over again, in health classes in High School, on the nightly news, in our doctors offices, to live a healthy life, we must find a balance between a healthy diet, physical exercise, and mental wellbeing. It is up to us to find our magical combination.
I would also argue that we need to go one step further. I think we need to quit clouding our bodies both physically and mentally with all the pesticides in our world. We need to let the good bugs fight off the bad bugs. We need to quit taking a pill to cure an achy knee. Instead we need to figure out a balance in our life that will naturally make our knee ache less. Suffering from a migraine? Yes, a pill can provide a quick fix, but how great would it be to eliminate the headache from your life all together. Could there be a real medical reason for the migraines? Absolutely. But you will never know if you keep taking a pill that masks all the symptoms.
As a society, I believe we are all quick to rely on medication to “cure” our problems. If something man-made can temporarily fix all of our problems, maybe, just maybe, it is everything man-made that is causing our problems. Our foods our filled with fake ingredients, artificial colors, and word after word of things we can’t pronounce. This is not eating. We might feel full, but our bodies are screaming for better.
In order to truly discover how good our bodies and our lives can be, we need to stop contaminating our bodies. We need to start by allowing our bodies to communicate with us. We will never truly know what our bodies need if we are fueling it with artificial fuels.
This is an ongoing process. Just like the changing seasons bring different challenges to a farm, different life phases will always require a different balance between eating well, staying fit, engaging our brain, and listening to our body. The more we take care of our body, the more it will take care of us. We need to create a system of planting, managing, and growing for our own lives. Once we know how to sustain our own lives, the rest of our world – love, family, community – will all fall into place.