Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Learning to Do

Here is an excerpt from the first paragraph I wrote for the October 22nd blog at http://freefarmstand.org/ (View From the Free Farm):

"There is planing going on to combine the Free Farm web site with the Free Farm Stand. Right now I am trying to keep both sites up-to-date and sometimes I am more inspired to write about what is going on at the Farm than at the Farm Stand and vice versa. So having just one place where people can go to find out about either of our projects I hope will be better.
Today, for example,  I am thinking about our last workday at the Free Farm where we had a number of guests and Urban Ag celebrities visit us...."

One of the fabulous things about our Free Farm are the new people who always show up either to lend a hand or who just come to see what's up.  These guests are like our pollinators and they bring stories to share from their travels elsewhere. Vipul came by who is a friend of Kachan who is part of the network of friends of Pancho and Casa de Paz. Kachan helped out at the farm a number of times before she moved to Portland. So Vipul stayed in Portland with Kachan before he came here.  Among the things I learned from Vipul about his visit to Tryon Life Community Farm  (http://tryonfarm-org.cftvgy.org/share/), a group I had heard of and got a some good ideas from in terms of organizing our farm. The story on their website on how they managed to save their farm from being bought by developers (they had to come up with 1.4 million dollars in a short amount of time) is pretty interesting.

We have been having warm weather and have been hustling to get our winter crops in. One row of peas that we put in as established seedlings got their leaves eaten and we had to replace them (fortunately we have a lot of them...see below). David who is one of our best gardeners thought it was birds that did the damage so we covered the plants with row cover cloth.

I am reading an inspiring book that was given to me as gift from the Leader's Quest group that I wrote about in our previous blog. The book is called "What Out Walk On". In the sixties it was sort of a similar idea "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out"  These are stories of people who have "walked out of limiting beliefs and assumtpions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities". I am reading about the Zapatistas in Mexico and Unitierras, alternative schools  that the communities are creating for themselves. "The pedagogy...is learn to do, then learn to learn, then consider the other in his or her entirety." I love this approach to learning! There is a great article online here from Yes! magazine that tells same story well about this radical approach to education. "We have learned, with the Zapatistas, that while changing the world is very difficult, perhaps impossible, it is possible to create a whole new world....The most dramatic lesson we derived from the exercise was to discover what we were really missing in the urban setting: conditions for apprenticeship...Our challenge thus became to find ways to regenerate community in the city, to create a social fabric in which we all, at any age, would be able to learn and in which every kind of apprenticeship might flourish."

These ideas are making me think how this applies to the Free Farm. I have been thinking of how we can get more trained people to help run the farm because we are short of "team leaders". I was thinking of doing something like Alemany Farm does is to have a course on urban farming  next year with the idea that the course would be free, but that after graduating there would be a requirement to give back to the community the skills one learns. The Unitierra approach makes me think we should offer apprenticeships where people come to learn something they want to learn and figure out what skills they need to learn to do it.

Here are some recent wonderful photos from the farm taken by our volunteer Liz:

 our friend the hawk is back
 lettuce seedlings
 snap pea seedlings
 ground cherry
also know as Cape Gooseberry

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