Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farm and Garden Design Class: I'm So Excited!

I am so excited!  I'll be taking an on-line Farm and Garden Design class with two of my homesteading/farming/sustainable living gurus Sharon Astyk  and Aaron Newton.  They have recently collaborated on the book A Nation of Farmers.  This book discusses how our current industrialized food system is directly involved with the food crisis.  The basic premise is that in order to guarantee one's food future one needs to become adept at self-sustaining farming.  Whether one farms an apartment balcony or one farms 10 acres we all need to take a vital role in our own food acquisition.  The online course will cover all kinds of things from garden design based on your own growing area through plot  and soil preparation, small livestock, container gardening, vertical gardening, making money... It's going to be great because all those questions that have been running around in my head during this last growing season will now get dealt with.  With an acre to work with I vacillate between growing just for myself and my family or do I think bigger, like starting a CSA or sell at farmer's markets?  Those who know me know I sold many of my salad greens at the Wixom Farmer's Market during the summer.  It was a great experience.  I loved it.  But I  the work was a little too much for me.  Remember, I'm a one woman farm.  My husband, JJ, helps me when he can, and my children will take care of the chickens to an extent, but  have no desire to become vegetable farmers.  So, most of the time, the job falls soley in my lap.  How to make the best of an acre with limited manpower is the question.
As a reader of Astyk's blog Casaubon's Book, my eyes have been opened to the disconnect we have with our food.  If the grocery store closed tomorrow, would you be able to survive on your own know-how?  Would you count on the government?  (Think Hurricane Katrina!) Or would you be able to count on yourself?  Coming times don't look too promising.  With the decrease in  availability through limited reserves or expense  it is time for us to look at food attainment without the use of fossil fuels.  Growing one's own makes sense in that fuel miles are eliminated . The only energy used is the energy needed to walk to the garden and pick something for dinner.  What I like best about growing my own food is the feeling of empowerment and the reconnection of the earth.  I am forced to eat seasonably and locally.  I am more connected to the ebb and flow of nature's cycles.  It puts me in my place as to who is really in charge.
Check out Astyk's book and blog and you may find your thinking changed as well!

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