Happy midwinter everyone. My apologies to anyone who was expecting a newsletter from me on my usual two week schedule. After attempting and failing to write a newsletter over the past few weeks, at some point I realized that my brain was in need of a break and gave up! Getting a break was definitely necessary; I also realized that trying to reflect on this year and fitting those reflections into the small space of this newsletter is a challenge! One that I’ve sort of given up on.
I hope that you who are reading this are coping (and more) throughout this time and that this farm serves as a link to earth’s natural abundance that provides comfort and security amidst uncertainty and upheaval. I know that this is what the farm provides for us and I’m quite certain that the land could provide this for everyone if human behaviour could shift to allow it. Perhaps this is my main reflection not just on this year but on this year as a check point for what we have come to as a world as we neglect and overrun earth’s systems, processes and abundance.
This pandemic has revealed to many people the fundamental weaknesses and failures of our status quo behaviour, the dysfunction at the core of our society. As many contemplate how to change our course, I find wisdom and hope in the perspective of Indigenous leaders and thinkers who point out truths we need to incorporate into our thinking and doing.
Rowan White, an Indigenous seed keeper, writer, leader often points out that the earth is naturally inclined towards abundance. We see this on the farm routinely. With care and intention, with the goal of stewardship and relationship rather than control and and exploitation, we reap abundant sustenance enough for ourselves and our community. The land offers nourishment and well-being and the possibility of community self-reliance and health (and joy!).
As we come to the end of this challenging and remarkable year, it is my hope that we we all orient ourselves towards radical renewal and change that values all people and their non-human relations, seeks justice, changes our relationships with each other and the land.
For inspiration I’ve been reading “The Serviceberry, An Economy of Abundance” by the great Robin Wall Kimmerer. In this essay, Kimmerer describes the possibilities of the “gift economy,” based on the notion that earth is inclined towards abundance and human behaviour can and should be oriented towards nurturing that abundance and through it, each other.
This essay reflects much of what we have learned from the land here at Cedar Down Farm and how we choose to act here in relationship with the land and its human and non-human inhabitants. In contrast to a scarcity model which drives us to hoard and fight over earth’s “resources”, I believe that basing our decisions on whether we are nurturing abundance and spreading care is key to changing how we do things.
At this moment in time, this could mean supporting those who are fighting for change and resisting the tired model of exploitation. I’ve listed some actions, resources and organizations that are meaningful to me and represent the change that I feel needs to happen.
In some cases you can become associate members of organizations advocating for change (like Farmers for Climate Solutions!), you can show support for or contribute financially to communities fighting for land justice (like Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s Land Claim) and food justice and you can learn about what food sovereignty means, how we may advocate better for climate solutions (NOW!) and what a just food system requires.
As this year ends and another begins, we thank you as always for your support for our family and this farm. Happy New Year; may it be safe and joyful with better times to come.2